Moving Utley to Third Base Is the Right Call
The greatest second baseman in Philadelphia Phillies history should make a position change in 2013.
Chase Utley started fielding ground balls at third base before Wednesday night's game, and hopefully, he keeps doing it—because Utley's future with the Phillies is at third base.
Utley has been on the disabled list the past two years because of degenerated knees. He would be ideal at third, where he wouldn't have to take such a pounding moving laterally (and from baserunners trying to take him out).
More importantly, if it works, the move may keep Utley in a Phils uniform for years to come: 2013 is a contract year for the sparkplug, and a successful move to third could prolong his career.
Utley's a smart fellow. After all, he's the one who suggested this move to general manager Ruben Amaro. And no Phillies fan would ever want to see Chase Utley depart the team. He can do no wrong.
Philly fans love players who hustle, and Utley is the closest player the Phils have to Charlie Hustle. Third base is a huge hole for the Phillies. It has been for several years, and outside options around the league are slim.
Even though he is a Gold Glover, Placido Palanco just can't stay healthy enough to play the hot corner. Those various injuries have also taken their toll on his bat. Even when Polanco was hot at the plate, he was a spray hitter who never delivered the power numbers traditionally associated with the position. Utley certainly can.
Kevin Frandsen is not your next third basemen. He's been a bright spot for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, but his ceiling is probably as a great utility guy who could spell Utley next year at third.
So move Utley to third. This clears second base for Freddie Galvis, whose magical play there opened a promising season that was derailed by injury and a violation of the Major League Baseball drug policy. You can't see a Phillies team without Utley in the lineup. And Galvis has earned his stripes.
It wouldn't even be the first time Utley tried to make the move to third. The club tried him out there a decade ago to replace Scott Rolen, but it didn't work out at the AAA level. That was before he became an All-Star, MVP candidate, and World Series champion.
Another Phillie earned a ring with a similar position change years ago: Darren Daulton. When his knees were shot from years of backstopping, Dutch took a spot in right field, performing strong enough to catch the eyes of the Florida Marlins, who acquired him en route to their World Series championship.
We all want Chase Utley to get another World Series ring, and we want him to do it here. Besides, his best chance is with the Philadelphia Phillies.