Chase Utley has reached the point in his career where he has to compete for playing time, specifically with utility player Enrique Hernandez as the first bat off the bench, which obviously doesn't say much for his Fantasy appeal. He began last year in a funk, and nothing -- not a DL stint for a bum ankle or a late-season trade to the Dodgers -- could pull him out of it. The strange part is his plate discipline was as good as ever, and his batted ball tendencies were the same. Normally when a hitter slows down with age, it shows in some of the underlying numbers, but either way, the writing is on the wall for Utley at age 37. He doesn't hit lefties anymore and probably won't get the chance, looking at Hernandez's splits, and a part-time middle infielder with declining numbers just doesn't play well in mixed leagues.
Utley agreed to a one-year deal with the Dodgers on Sunday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. Utley was likely looking for a team willing to give him a starting job or at least real shot at one, but his deal with the Dodgers likely means he didn't find one. Barring any injuries or major moves by the Dodgers, he'll compete with Enrique Hernandez and Jose Peraza for playing time at second base while working as the typical veteran bench presence. He'll have to work to improve on career worsts last season in batting average and OPS, but selective bench appearances could help with that.
Utley had his team option declined by the Dodgers on Friday, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports. Utley struggled in Los Angeles following an August trade, hitting just .202 in 124 at bats, and he wasn't much better before the move as he slashed .217/.284/.333 in Philadelphia. Almost 37 years old, Utley is no longer a particularly strong force at the plate, and it's unlikely that he'll find a full-time starting role anywhere in free agency.
Utley's appeal hearing is scheduled for next Monday, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Utley, who is appealing his two-game suspension following an illegal slide that broke Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada's leg, will be eligible to play for the entirety of the NLDS. However, with Mets' rookie left-hander Steven Matz set to take the mound in Game 4, Utley will likely serve as a pinch-hitter in the crucial matchup.
Dodgers infielder Chase Utley will appeal his suspension and be eligible to play in Monday's Game 3 of the NLDS against the Mets. Utley was initially suspended two games as a result of an illegal slide in Saturday's contest, but the appeal likely will not be heard either Monday or Tuesday, making him active for both Game 3 and 4. He is not in the starting lineup Monday, as Howie Kendrick will get the nod at the keystone and lead off.
Utley has been suspended for Games 3 and 4 of the NLDS as a result of his illegal slide in Saturday's game. Many took issue with Utley's slide -- which ended up in a broken leg for the Mets' Ruben Tejada -- and MLB agreed, handing him a two-game suspension. Utley will be able to play again later this postseason if the Dodgers win at least one of the next two games, however.