Chase Utley decides to stay while Franklin Gutierrez is finally going to see Chavez Ravine
The Dodgers get their greybeard back this summer with Chase Utley deciding to sign a one year contract with the team. Last year headed into spring it looked like Chase was going to be the super utility player and Howie Kendrick the second baseman but spring injuries to Howie gave Chase the chance to take the starting gig.
This year Logan Forsythe is the incumbent second baseman, so once again Chase looks like he’s headed toward a super utility role.
Only good can come from having Chase Utley on your roster.
Meanwhile. in a surprise move the Dodgers signed FA outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to help them against left-hand pitching. Back in November I reviewed some free agents I thought would help the team and this is what I said about Gutierrez:
Franklin Gutierrez of – at one time the 33-year-old Gutierrez was considered one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. That was in 2009, but this is 2016 and now the defensive stats say he’s negative. He still brings big right-handed power against left-handed pitching putting up a .884 OPS against them in 2016, after hitting .973 against them in 2015. For his career, he can boast a .846 OPS against LHP in over 1,000 plate appearances.
Gutierrez was one of the first players traded by Paul DePodesta back on April 4th, 2004 when he was sent to the Indians for Milton Bradley. Gutierrez was one of the highest ranked Dodger prospects in a system that didn’t have much in the way of prospects in AA or AAA at the time. He would end up Seattle and have a fine career as a right-handed defensive first center-fielder. I for one can’t quite buy into the fact that someone who just a few years ago was the best defensive center-fielder in baseball is now a defensive liability in the outfield but I have to admit I’ve rarely seen him play and that is what the defensive metrics say.
We shall see, what we do know is that he can spank left hand pitching so unless he’s hurt this spring I’d be expecting him to be part of the left field platoon with either Andre or Toles. Or even maybe Joc if he shows he can still play centerfield.
I like both these moves, it improves the team bench and thus the team. Who gets removed from the 40 man roster to make room for two more players remains to be seen. No sense in speculating, we will know soon enough.