Cesar’s Time: Utley Is No Longer No. 1 Second Baseman

Chase UtleyChase Utley is the greatest second baseman in Phillies history, but it appears Cesar Hernandez’s time has come.

Hernandez, 25, entered tonight’s game against the Dodgers hitting .302 (54-for-179) with 10 doubles, one triple, one home run, 19 RBIs and a .771 OPS in 71 games. Meanwhile, Utley is on the disabled list with an injured right ankle. He is hitting .179 (39-for-218) with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 25 RBIs and a .532 OPS in 65 games.

But is the iconic Utley, 36, still the primary second baseman when he returns from the DL?

“Not for me he’s not,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Cesar Hernandez is our best second baseman.”

So whenever Utley returns …

“I would assume that Cesar will be our second baseman,” Amaro said. “Chase’s situation will kind of dictate itself, how he feels. There’ll be time for him to play, I think. He could play some first base. He could play some second. But as far as I’m concerned, just like what our plan has been for a long, long time, that’s to give opportunities to young men who could be part of our future. Cesar Hernandez has been one of our best players on the field right now in a variety of ways.”

Not surprisingly, Utley had little reaction about Amaro’s comments.

“Well, I think Cesar has done a really good job,” Utley said. “There you go.”

Pete Mackanin seems to be on board with Amaro. Asked for a health update on Utley before the game, Mackanin said, “I haven’t heard a word. But with Cesar playing so well, it’s not really a big deal for the simple reason that Utley has not played and seen pitching, so when he does come back … you really can’t count on him. How long has it been? Two weeks. And by the time he starts taking BP and all of that stuff, it’s probably going to be a month before he comes back in and then what do you do? I don’t know.”

Utley’s ankle has improved since a cortisone injection. He could begin baseball activities before the end of the road trip.

He also said recently he could be back on the field before the end of the month.

3 Comments

Let me begin by saying that I am extremely biased. Chase Utley is my all-time favorite player, and there’s no close second. I am also, however, a 35 year Phillies’ fan. I think, as with about 75% of his actions and statements, Ruben Amaro Jr.s comments about Chase Utley are egregious, for a number of reasons. First, he was the starting second baseman in the 2014 ASG, had a bad second half, and then played on a sprained ankle this season. His numbers are often reported within the last 162 games, which excludes much of the first half of ’14, and those numbers are awful. But, they don’t exclude this season as he was playing hurt. Second, Cesar Hernandez will not be part of our future. Based on a month’s play, Utley loses time to a guy who’s numbers look really good for the Phillies. Amaro says Hernandez is one of the best players on the field right now, and that’s correct. Because the field Amaro is talking about is Citizens Bank Park. But, how different is Cesar Hernandez from Ben Revere. I see them as almost identical, at least offensively. And we’ve been trying to trade Revere since we got him. Empty numbers. Third, Howard should be benched if Cesar Hernandez is the second basemen, and Utley should play first. This reason is poor on my part, however, because we need to play Ryan Howard in order to trade him, but Utley will likely return after July 31st. Fourth, and probably most importantly, Amaro’s statements are cold and callous toward a Phillies’ icon, and that sends a terrible message to future veteran free agents that we might want to trade for or sign to plug a hole and get better. Granted, al of the negativity toward Chase has come from Amaro and Mackannin, two guys who will not be in the same position after the season. But, Amaro’s comments are indicative of the way the Phillies have botched public relations for many years now. If I had a no-trade clause and the Phillies, of course in the future, were on the fringe of making the playoffs, I would think of their treatment of guys like Charlie Manual, fired on Charlie Manual Day, and Chase Utley, and I would block the trade. And fifth, he’s Chase Utley. I don’t want to hold onto aging veterans as we get worse and worse, but I want those aging veterans, especially if they’ve devoted themselves to our organization, to be treated right. To the Phillies’ credit, they seem to have successfully done this with Jimmy Rollins. He left a hero, he left with dignity, and he went to a team that he’s happy with. Chase Utley deserves that treatment. If we were good right now, Utley probably sits, but we’re almost twice as bad as the 29th team in baseball right now, in terms of run differential. If Utley is healthy in August, he should play in August, and if Utley does produce when he is healthy, I know exactly what he will do. He will bow out gracefully. If he does produce, then I guess, though it hurts my heart to write it, we might flip him to another team, where he contribute in some small way.

Thanks for allowing this long post. A week ago, I had to make it a rule for myself to stop tweeting about the Phillies because this season is driving me crazy, and I’m a teacher, and eventually I was going to have a drink or two and tweet something dumb and lose my job! Lol. Not really, but I hated subjecting my followers, who are mostly educators, to my Phillies rants. Posting this on your blog helps.

I just don’t understand why Amaro feels the need to state the obvious. Yes, Hernandez is doing a (much) better job, but why SAY it? It’s disrespectful to Philly’s most popular sports figure.

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Burmese cuisine shows no fear, ass how the people of Burma should have been living, for according to Aung San Suu Kyi, “fear is not the natural state of civilized people. Dramatic Competition: Leonard Maltin, Peter Saraf, Lone Scherfig, Bryan Singer and Dana Stevens; World Cinema Documentary Competition: Andrea Nix Fine, Sally Riley and Caspar Sonnen; World Cinema Dramatic Competition: Carlo Chatrian, Sebasti.

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