Evidently, I am not the only one who thinks the Miami Marlins should pursue Chase Utley as a veteran presence off the bench. Based on the fact the veteran infielder is still on the free agent market and the Marlins have a need for depth, this could be one of those moves that pays off for the organization like the team’s decision to sign Ichiro Suzuki.
I guess you could say age and wisdom could prove to be en vogue down in south Florida.
In Joe Frisaro’s recent piece on MLB.com, he explores the option of signing a player like Utley. The six-time National League All-Star second baseman frequently feasted on Miami pitching. Now, it could be a matter of Utley helping the team’s pitching staff carry leads into the seventh inning before the bullpen takes over.
“It is worth noting that there are no rumblings of talks in the works, but it would be a match that could be mutually beneficial. Besides, in 2015, Utley played for Marlins manager Don Mattingly in Los Angeles, so there is familiarity,” Frisaro wrote.
Ideally, Miami would prefer a right-handed-hitting bench option to mix and match at first base with Justin Bour. Utley could be the exception.
"You never have enough depth," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "That's why we're monitoring the market to see if there are any late bargains."
As we have stated before in other stories, there are other options – two tightly associated with the team. Miami could seek to re-sign both Chris Johnson, who was a utility first baseman last season and split time with multiple teammates while Bour dealt with an ankle injury. The other option might be to re-sign Jeff Francoeur who the team traded for to help fill the void of an injured Giancarlo Stanton. Francoeur may be open to returning to Miami as well after time in Atlanta before the trade took place.
“With Utley, you don't worry too much about statistical splits. He has hit throughout his 14-year career. “The Marlins know that well. In 179 career games against Miami, Utley has a slash line of .278/.369/.482 with 30 home runs and 125 RBIs,” Frisaro added.
Utley can offer depth at three positions -- first, second and third.
Cost shouldn't be an issue, either. He made $7 million in 2016, belting 14 homers and driving in 52 with the Dodgers.
It is also possible this could be a low risk-high reward option for the Marlins who could sign Utley for around $5 million.