The Phillies returned from their seven-game road trip against Atlanta and St. Louis with a more than okay 5-2 record. Those two losses came in a row and the Phils lost last night to the Marlins, getting shutout for the 10th time this season, the most since 1989. Despite being in last place in the NL East, Phillies second baseman, Chase Utley, hasn't really thought about leaving, nor does he really want to.
There is no doubting Utley's trade value. Although his average has dropped in the last month or so, he is one of the best, if not the best, second baseman in the league at this point when you talk about defense. Sure, he has had his run in with injuries, but is healthy this season and showing what he can do at his age. He is sure to get a look from teams that plan to contend, but Utley has the final say in any deal the Phillies put on the table that involves him.
Chase has 10-and-5 rights. For those who are unsure what that is, it means that he has 10 years of service time and the last five years are with the same team. It also gives him the rights to refuse any trade at any given time for any reason. So, whether or not the Phillies plan a rebuild, Utley is in charge of his own destiny. When it comes to the word rebuild, the process would be rather long considering the lack of farm pieces in the system. In a recent piece by Phillies beat writer, Todd Zolecki, Utley was very brief about his thoughts regarding a rebuild, reiterating the fact that he wants to remain in Philadelphia.
"Well, you're creating situations that aren't necessarily going to happen," Utley told MLB.com. "I guess we'd have to see at that point, but I don't plan on going anywhere."
As a Major League Baseball player, you obviously want to win multiple rings in your career. Utley, who was a big part of the 2008 championship season, signed a $27 million contract extension last August, and it could reach as much as $75 million if all of the options are worked. Re-signing here was a priority for Utley and he still believes they have a winning mentality, but believe improvements need to be made.
"Last year, re-signing here was something I really wanted to do," he said. "Great organization. Nothing has changed since then.
"I mean, honestly, I haven't thought about it."
But Utley said he still thinks the Phillies can win in the future.
"I think the mentality of trying to win will be there," Utley said. "I think we need to make improvements as does every team in baseball."
Utley's statements come shortly after ones made by Jimmy Rollins, where he said that the Phillies "would have to come up with a reason for me to leave. ... if they tell me to go, then I got no choice. I'll go. If you make it that clear that you don't want me, you don't have to tell me twice."
When asked about the rebuild process, Cole Hamels, who also has a no-trade clause, expressed his thoughts on making the good years of your career count.
"Then it's a different situation. And I think you kind of have to look at it in a different way because your careers are only so long. Your good years only last so long. You want to make them count."
While it seems Hamels may welcome a more winning enviornment now, it seems Utley and Rollins plan to stay where they are.
As we get closer and closer to the end of June, the picture will become clearer regarding the Phillies future. With an NL East so tight and mediocre, there is absolutely no telling what the Phillies will do now, especially with Mr. Amaro at the helm.
Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia