Chase Utley expected back with Dodgers for 2018 season

By in Press Enterprise on February 13, 2018

By Bill Plunkett

GLENDALE, Ariz. – An organization that likes to keep a tight lid on information failed miserably at this.

The locker nearest the door, around the hall from the coaches’ meeting room, in the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch had no nameplate on it Tuesday morning. But cleats with the No. 26 on them and gloves with his name were in it and boxes addressed to “Chase Utley” were stacked in front of it.

“Yeah, they’re not hiding it very well,” Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw said.

The Dodgers are indeed expected to announce the re-signing of Utley to a one-year contract in the next day or two. The veteran second baseman turned 39 in December and will be starting his 16th big-league season in 2018.

“He’s obviously had a huge impact on this organization the last couple of years and the clubhouse,” Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi said in January of Utley who worked out at Dodger Stadium this winter despite being an unsigned free agent. “We do have some young players that we’re looking to get more at-bats for and create more opportunities for.

“Particularly at second base, we do have a multitude of options there, so we’re kind of going through the baseball fit. If we can get together on a role and what the opportunity looks like — obviously, his impact in the clubhouse is something we’d love to have going forward as well.”

Last year, Utley hit .236 with eight home runs and 34 RBI in 127 games, starting 68 at second base, 10 at first base and three at DH.

The Dodgers do need a left-handed bat to platoon with right-handed Logan Forsythe at second base. Forsythe hit .290 with an .870 OPS against left-handed pitchers last season but only .190 with a .576 OPS against right-handers.

But the Dodgers value Utley for other reasons.

“I think […]    

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