Chase Utley Newsbeat
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Who are his best options?
Now, Utley’s case could impact if he misses two games next regular season. The Dodgers will decline his $15 million 2016 option, making Utley a free agent. However, he turns 37 in December and is coming off his worst season in which he hit .212 for the Phillies and Dodgers with just a .629 OPS.
The Dodgers could conceivably want him back at decreased pay, but as opposed to what would have been in his prime, Utley will not have a robust market.
Posted: October 28, 2015 at 06:10 AM | 26 comment(s)
Monday, October 12, 2015
If only ONE player gets hurt, the rules need to be changed!
What matters is that players get hurt, and while you can’t make rules to eliminate all injuries, you can certainly work to eliminate injuries caused by other players when they deliberately behave in certain ways. It doesn’t really make sense that baseball, as a sport, would leave the door open to vicious takeout slides at second base. It doesn’t go with everything else, especially now that we’ve mostly gotten rid of collisions at home, and the reality is that baseball has enough of an injury problem already. Every year, we lose some of the most talented pitchers in the world, simply because they tried to pitch. That problem isn’t going away in the foreseeable future, and it’s bad for the sport, especially if injury frequencies are increasing. Players should be protected as best they can. Baseball should keep safe as many as it can. It already knows it’s going to lose a few. It should try to keep that number as low as possible.
Posted: October 12, 2015 at 09:54 AM | 23 comment(s)
Lee Smith (no, the other one) weighs in:
Middle infielders learn this principle in youth baseball, long before they get to the professional ranks. If you turn your back on the incoming runner, you’re putting yourself at risk. This is one reason why it’s harder, and more dangerous, for the second baseman to turn the double play than it is for the shortstop. At second, you have to square yourself to receive the relay from short or third so you’re always giving some of your back to the runner, which means you have to be very aware of where he is out of the corner of your eye. It’s easier to turn two from short because you can fully see the runner all the way from first. Also, the shortstop has his own form of deterrence: the runner knows he is coming straight at one of the best arms on the field, cocked and loaded with a projectile that is about to thrown extremely hard at the very place from where the runner has just come and now stands as an obstacle. If the base runner values his face, he will get out of the way in any way possible.
That’s how infielders watch out for themselves. If on the other hand an infielder turn his back on a runner, he makes his entire body vulnerable to injury, even if the base runner has no intention of doing him harm. In this instance, even had Utley come straight into second with a relatively gentle slide, Tejada might have gotten badly hurt. The shortstop’s feet were planted right around second base, and that’s the second rule middle infielders learn about the double play—be very careful planting your feet, lest you make yourself susceptible to a very bad injury.
These aren’t the days of Ty Cobb, when some ballplayers were looking to hurt their colleagues. But they’re still professional athletes who are playing hard to beat each other. Moreover, in spite of rules rightly intended to protect the ballplayers, the size and speed of 21st-century athletes further increases the risks in the middle of the diamond. It can get dangerous in there, which is why middle infielders are taught to protect and defend themselves.
For instance, the reason middle infielders jump after throwing the relay on the double play isn’t to leapfrog over the incoming runner like an Olympic hurdler—though it’s cool when you can do it!—but to get even an inch off the ground so that if you get hit the worst injury you suffer is a bruise rather than a break. An additional upside to the jump is that the middle infielder can land all elbows and knees on the sliding base runner to remind him that the infielder is also capable of delivering bruises. And if the base runner is a real jerk who has a habit of looking to actually injure infielders, you might give him a taste of his own medicine and come down leading with spikes.
As a middle infielder himself, Utley knows all this. Indeed, when he was with the Phillies, Utley was one of the game’s premier second baseman. He always played hard, but I doubt very strongly that he’s looking to hurt opponents, especially other middle infielders. In fact, unlike American League pitchers who can throw at hitters with impunity knowing that no one can throw at their heads in return, Utley understands that his opponents know just where to find him—right there in the middle of the infield and as vulnerable as anyone on the double play pivot. And even when he’s not in the field but is coming off the bench to hit, shortstops and second baseman can still tame him and make him hit the deck fast. There’s nothing that discourages a base runner from coming into second hard like seeing a big-league middle infielder drop down under and throw the relay to first from a submarine angle.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
The slide was late. The slide was high. The slide was questionably legal and arguably dirty.
Even if you were watching it through blue-colored glasses, you had to admit that the slide was recklessly dangerous, so much that it broke another man’s leg.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
“He was flanked by league MVPs, left and right,” said Ed Wade, the general manager when Utley was drafted. “But I think if you boil down his decade worth of performance in a Phillies uniform, I don’t think it would be overstating to say he was the MVP of that era. As good as that core nucleus was, what all those guys did, there was sort of a performance and a heartbeat level that was happening at second base.”
That’s not hyperbole. As calculated by baseball-reference.com, Utley’s WAR is fourth in franchise history. Among position players, it is second only to Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
Posted: August 20, 2015 at 07:53 AM | 2 comment(s)
for his generous support.
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