Chase Utley will retire at season's end, capping a Hall of Fame-worthy career
Utley was one of the best second basemen of his era
Chase Utley is in the midst of his 16th season at the big-league level. It will be his last.
Currently in his third full season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Utley announced in a press conference on Friday that he will retire at the end of the year.
Though Utley has not been an effective player this season (he entered Friday with a 77 OPS+), he was without a doubt one of the best second baseman of his era -- and could well find himself in Cooperstown down the road.
Utley made six All-Star teams, won four Silver Slugger Awards, and earned MVP votes in five consecutive season. He's a career .276/.358/.466 hitter who, from 2005-13, hit .290/.378/.503 with 202 home runs and 123 stolen bases.
Here's a look at where he ranks among second basemen since he debuted in 2003:
- Hits: fourth
- Doubles: second
- Home runs: second
- Runs batted in: second
- Stolen bases: sixth
- Batting average: 26th
- On-base percentage: eighth
- Slugging percentage: third
- Wins Above Replacement: second
Robinson Cano is the one second baseman with more WAR than Utley since 2003. Meanwhile, Ian Kinsler is the only other second baseman within 10 wins of Utley. (Dustin Pedroia is 13 wins back, and Ben Zobrist is 21 wins behind.) Utley's advanced metrics stack up well historically, too. His 65.6 career WAR includes 49.3 coming during his peak. The average Hall of Fame second baseman, for reference, notched 69.5 career WAR with 44.5 coming during their peak.
Obviously Utley's Hall of Fame chances will be dictated by years of coming argument. But he has a real case. Add in how he was a pivotal part of some great Philadelphia Phillies teams, including the 2008 World Series champions, and he could get the nod from those who prefer their Hall of Famers to have enjoyed team success in addition to individual accolades.
Of course any discussion of Utley's career is not complete without mentioning his takeout slide on Ruben Tejada during the 2015 postseason. The league subsequently changed the rules concerning how baserunners were allowed to slide. Tejada, for his part, never recovered to play as he did before the incident.
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