The trade winds are picking up in Major League Baseball and, like always, the City of Brotherly Love is at the center of the hottest trade rumors. The latest rumor has the heart and soul of Philadelphia baseball, second baseman Chase Utley, being a likely trade candidate for the Phillies.
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Chase Utley has always been a fan favorite, and trading him could have a major impact on many levels. The Phillies already are drawing 5,000 less fans per game this season and their recent performance will probably cause a continued decline. The Phillies need to answer a tough question: Will the return for Utley be worth the loss at the gate and the likely emotional backlash of Phillies fans?
The Dodgers and the Royals seem the most logical trade partners. The Dodgers have made a run of late and find themselves within 2.5 games of the Western Division lead. The addition of Chase Utley may be all that is needed to push the Dodgers into the postseason and perhaps toward a World Series berth. The Royals definitely have the prospects, and a trade for a player like Utley would show fans they are all-in this season and that their commitment to win was not just words to sell tickets.
Either way, the Phillies ultimately have to decide if they want to move on from this era of Phillies baseball or if they want to continue to cling to any hope of postseason baseball in South Philly anytime soon. The loss of Utley would leave a hole in the middle of the lineup, but it also would provide prospect Freddy Galvis a chance to play more.
Chase Utley is a free agent after this season, so any trade for him would be a half a year rental. Still, his veteran experience and everyday hustle could be a huge addition for playoff bound teams. The smart move may be for the Phillies to ship him off for prospects and then try to resign him for a two- or three-year deal after the season, if Utley is willing. However, trading him to the Dodgers would be a huge risk since Utley is from California and, at this point in his career, he may want to make his way back home.
The next few months are going to pave the way for the Phillies’ future. It is going to be tough to see players like Chase Utley traded away, but it may be what is best for the franchise overall.