Should The Orioles Pursue Chase Utley?

This question was a no-brainer for me just a mere 24 hours ago. Go get him, Dandy Dan Duquette.

But after doing research and looking at what it would take to acquire this 34 yr-old (35 in Dec) second baseman, my feet are as cold as a woman getting ready to marry Tiger Woods. On one hand, adding Utley’s perfectly suited left-handed power stroke at Camden Yards during the heat of summer would only enhance this already potent offense. Additionally, his solid play in the field would solidify an already top flight defense (best fielding % since Manny Machacho was called up last August). I also think his personality and team first mentality would fit quite nicely in the Orioles tight-knit clubhouse. So why the sudden trepidation?

Chase UtleyFor starters, like the elephant in the room who I’ve failed to bring up so far, Brian Roberts, Utley hasn’t exactly been a pillar of health of late. He hasn’t played more than 150 games in a season since 2009 (156). That is also the last season he has hit more than 20 hr’s and his batting average has dipped as well. Like the above mentioned elephant, Utley’s name has been mentioned as a possible steroid user, though he has never tested positive. And to be completely fair, most players who start to break down from an injury standpoint later in their careers are often accused of “juicing”. It’s not fair, but if you want to blame anyone, blame the Sosas’, Bonds’, and McGwires’ who provided the blueprint for the accusations.

Back to Roberts for a minute. I’m a huge fan of this guy, on and off the field. Juice or no juice or a couple of “greenies” here and there doesn’t provide me enough evidence to say why he is injured all the time. You can make your own assumptions on that one. But whatever it is, my trust that he is going to play 100 games this season or ever again for that matter is as low as Obama’s economy approval rating. Ryan Flaherty is just that, Ryan Flaherty. Alexis Casilla can run, but when you can’t get on it’s tough to use your legs. Top infield prospect, Jonathan Schoop, is currently playing SS for Norfolk and isn’t exactly setting AAA on fire with his pedestrian .257 batting average with 1 hr and 11 RBI’s. I feel he is the future solution at 2nd base, but this team is ready to win right now.

Of course the next question is what would it take to acquire Utley, if the Phillies would even move him the in the first place. Well for starters, they would want a top flight infield prospect to replace Utley (See Schoop). And if they lose Cliff Lee this off-season (FA) as anticipated, then a mid/high grade pitching prospect would also probably have to be in the discussions. No, Dylan Bundy nor Kevin Gausman can even be brought up in these talks. But guys like Zach Britton, my boy Jake Arrieta or even high ceiling pitching prospects like Eduardo Rodriguez or Mike Wright could spawn some interest from the Phillies. That’s especially true if they punt the season realizing that the Braves and Nats will be fighting for the NL East title with the other one getting a Wild Card spot.


Again, my feet are freezing just thinking about giving up a 20-year old potential 10+ year starting 2nd basemen like Schoop for the possibility of getting a 2008 Chase Utley for a rental. I get it. But what excites me is the fact we are discussing the Orioles as potential buyers to add to an already contending ball club in the first place. That’s because the AL East is as wide open as Grand Canyon and the Orioles just might need a couple additions to rise to the top and give all the Orange Koolaid drinkers another taste of playoff baseball…

Jabby Burns is a diehard #OrangeKoolAid drinker and contributor to BaltimoreSportsReport.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JabbyBurns and check out his website JabbyBurns.com.

Known to his family as Josh Angulo-Bartlett, “Jabby Burns” has been in the Charm City via the sunny beaches of San Diego since 2000. He’s worked for the Baltimore Orioles and created his own blog (Jabbyburns.com) in addition to hosting radio shows on ESPN 1300 (Chalk Talk) and the Internet based BT Sports Radio. Jabby is regular contributor to BSR, and co-host of the BSR Podcast.

7 Comments

  1. Dave

    May 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    What about trading for Utley and Cliff Lee?

  2. KT

    May 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Lee isn’t a FA after the season and Utley would be a rental player. They might not be able to get much in return for him.

    • Dave

      May 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Pay for 50% of Lee’s contract (which wouldn’t be a horrible idea, Lee’s still pretty darn good), and I guarantee that lowers the price even further, maybe to just a guy like Wright or Rodriguez.

  3. Matt Sroka

    May 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I would trade for the 2009 version of Chase Utley, but I don’t think the 2013 version is a huge upgrade at 2nd base. I wouldn’t mind the addition, but I would’t give up any major prospects for him. Whatever we do, we should wait as long as possible to do it. Flaherty and Casilla are adequate replacements until Brian Roberts gets back. I’m still not ready to turn the page on Roberts.

  4. Matt W.

    May 8, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Hmm… As noted above, Cliff Lee is not a free agent at the end of this season. And I could be wrong, but I’ve never once heard anyone mention Chase Utley in any relation to steroid use. Where’d you get that nugget?

  5. ryan

    May 8, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I stumbled upon this article because, like most days for the past 10 years, I check in on Utley’s BR page for related links. This is one of the most ridiculous “articles” I’ve ever read. Just because you are bored and have access to a web page doesn’t give you the right to cry witch on PEDs. I’ve never heard a single remotely credible claim that Utley has used anything. His collision based injuries have occurred DURING GAMES and the degenerative nature of his knees would make sense to you if you watched him play for a season. The only time I’ve heard “rumors” have been from hacks like you who can’t understand why a guy of average size puts up such crazy power numbers but don’t bother to watch him play. It’s a pathetic attempt at journalism and you should be ashamed at peddling baseless allegations.

  6. 9inchnails

    May 8, 2013 at 9:55 am

    We can pursue him all the way to the emergency room…