Utley’s Playing Time to Begin Dwindling?

Chase UtleyChase Utley did not play today at Citizens Bank Park.

It was the fourth time in seven games he had not started at second base, although in two of those games he served as the Phillies’ first baseman and designated hitter. Utley’s playing time is being monitored closely these days because he is hitting .182 with a .539 OPS in 244 plate appearances through June 21.

Utley has a $15 million club option for 2016 that automatically vests if he reaches 500 plate appearances this season.

He has 91 games to attain the remaining 256.

Utley declined to discuss his future with the Phillies or his option this morning at Citizens Bank Park, but Ryne Sandberg said after a 9-2 victory over the Cardinals that he would like to see Cesar Hernandez play more in the future.

“I’ve been trying to get him in there,” Sandberg said. “He does a nice job so going forward … wait and see.”

“I definitely feel like I could be the second baseman of the future and I’m trying to take advantage of the opportunity I am getting right now,” Hernandez said through translator Juan Samuel.

Asked about Utley’s future with the organization, Phillies president Pat Gillick said today, “Chase probably is disappointed in his performance to this point. I think he’s a little bit frustrated with his performance. I think maybe we just have to wait and see. Unfortunately, he got off to a bad start in Spring Training with his sprained ankle. But right now he’s not performing up to his standards and certainly we can’t be satisfied with what he’s doing, either.”

But would it be negligent for the organization to have Utley reach the 500-plate appearance mark if he continues to struggle? Utley is hitting .217 with 19 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 70 RBIs and a .617 OPS in 602 plate appearances over 150 games in the last calendar year.

“That’s up to the manager,” Gillick said about Utley’s playing time. “We don’t have anything to say about that.”

Really?!

Ruben (Amaro Jr.) to my knowledge and myself, we’ve never dictated to any of the managers their lineup,” Gillick insisted. “They’re free to make their lineup and play whomever they wish.”

If that is truly the case, then it seems Sandberg is already on his way to playing Hernandez more in the future.

But like Sandberg and Gillick said, wait and see.

9 Comments

He never plays afternoon games, after a night game. Will always love the man! But, time to sit out more than a game at a time. Try a week.
Better yet……Take him off the roster, and let him help manage the team!

I agree with you totally. It is easy for us to say he should turn down millions of dollars. If played this correctly he would announce his retirement. The problem for us fans is that his possible replacements are no better as evidenced by him being one of the team leaders in runs and rbis.

It somewhat surprises me that Utley hasn’t approached mgmnt with a proposal to settle out his contract so he could retire without the embarrassment of horrendous numbers ending his career. Right now he is a traitor to his fine past and to the organization. No way can the Phils allow him to get to 500 PAs.

And, he should know that his presence in the lineup blocks Hernandez or any other from gaining experience with steady play opportunities at 2b.

Kinda selfish? He could sit on the pine and still collect his large salary. Let him sit and enjoy the relaxation; there is no threat to his current bank account!

I dont think Hernandez has what it takes to be the future. Perhaps hell make a decent stop gap. I dont think hell hit enough to be a starter at least on a team that has post season aspirations. Doesnt hit for much power. His only chance will be if he can hit for a high average and high OBP

Pingback: An expensive mistake? The Phillies aren’t monitoring Chase Utley’s playing time. | HardballTalk

sounds great to m e, now get Darin Ruf back up

Hernandez might be the interim replacement until the kid they drafted this year ends up next to Crawford in the middle of the infield.

Pingback: Will the Phillies limit Chase Utley’s playing time due to contract? | Sports Kanga

The Phillies might not be any good again until the 3013 season..

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