Results tagged ‘ Chase Utley ’
“I can’t,” he said. “I’m busy today.”
He spoke later, but Amaro is probably busy with plenty of things, considering the Trade Deadline is next Wednesday and the Phillies entered tonight’s series finale against the Cardinals with a four-game losing streak. But CSNPhilly.com also reported Amaro has been talking with Chase Utley about a contract extension, which seems more likely to happen than not at this point.
“Come on, you know me,” said Utley, when asked about any negotiations.
“We don’t talk about those things,” Amaro echoed later.
But asked if he expects Utley to be in a Phillies uniform beyond Wednesday’s Trade Deadline, Amaro said, “Oh, I think so.”
Utley spoke with MLB.com about his future with the Phillies just before the All-Star break. He said then he would open to negotiations during the season.
“I think we have a good relationship,” he said. “We understand each other. Whatever is best is best, if that makes sense.”
They finished the half on a 9-4 run, although if you watched their just completed three-game series against the White Sox, you know this team is far from perfect.
“I think we made a statement that if we are going to be a contender and we’re going to win our division or a wild card, we still need some help,” Charlie Manuel said.
But this should be a fascinating second half for numerous reasons. First, the Phillies have a .610 winning percentage post-break with Manuel at the helm. That is the second-best record in baseball from 2005-12. They had a .587 winning percentage after the break last season, even after trading Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton. If the Phillies play the same this year they would finish 86-76. The Reds are on pace to win 90 games, so the Phillies need to pick up the pace in the second half.
But the Phillies play the Marlins, Mets, Padres and Cubs 25 more times, or 38.9 percent of their remaining games. Those teams have four of the five-worst records in the league. They also play the Braves and Nationals 22 more times, or 33.3 percent of their remaining games. So 47 of their remaining 66 games (71.2 percent) are against four of the worst teams in the league and the two teams they’re chasing to win the division. Since the Braves started 12-1, they are just 42-40. The Phillies are 42-40 in that same stretch, while the Nationals are 40-41.
The Phillies can’t say they won’t have a chance.
Second, what will the next couple weeks hold? Will the Phillies find a centerfielder to replace Ben Revere? Will they get some desperately needed bullpen help? I know everybody is saying the Phillies are buyers today, but if they stumble coming out of the break that could change quickly. The Phillies have a three-game series this weekend against the Mets at Citi Field, but then travel to St. Louis and Detroit. That isn’t an easy road trip, so the Phillies will need to play well.
Third, there will be plenty of evaluating going on in the second half. The Phillies will evaluate if they should buy or sell, and if they buy how much do they want to buy? But they also will be looking at their players on the field, deciding how they want to improve in 2014 and beyond. But players will be evaluating them, too. Chase Utley and Roy Halladay are free agents following the season. Ruben Amaro Jr. already has said he wants Utley to be a “Phillie for life.” If Halladay returns later this season and pitches well, you have to think the Phillies will try to bring him back. People always ask me about leaders in the Phillies clubhouse. Utley and Halladay are the two best. If they’re performing well you don’t want to lose them.
But Utley and Halladay also will have to decide if it’s best for them to stay. If they think the Phillies are moving in the wrong direction they might want to try to get a World Series ring elsewhere.
Utley talked about his future in Philadelphia. Read that story here.
Halladay also talked about his future in Philadelphia. Read that story here.
Sell! Sell! Sell!
But the Phillies entered tonight’s game against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park winners of six of their last eight games and playing in a division that is arguably the weakest in baseball. So he seemed buoyed by the news Ryan Howard had successful surgery earlier in the day.
Howard had a debridement of the left medial meniscus. His timetable to return is six to eight weeks.
“After (Phillies physician Michael) Ciccotti went in there and went in with the scope, it was a little better picture then we thought,” Amaro said. “I think the player is feeling better about it, we’re feeling better about it. As news goes, this is as good as we can get.”
Amaro said it probably changes the season’s outlook “because we’ll have him back. There’s a reasonable chance we’ll have him back at some point. We still have a lot of question marks about where we’re going to go in the next couple of weeks. Right now, the team is making decisions a little harder on me which is fine and which is good. I’d rather be in this situation than thinking about 2014 right now.”
Amaro met with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, the Phillies coaching staff and others in the organization Tuesday, although he declined to call it an organizational meeting.
Regardless of what one calls it, the organization’s decision makers met to discuss the team leading to the July 31 Trade Deadline.
“There were no real revelations,” Amaro said. “We are playing better baseball and putting ourselves in a position to be buyers. But there was nothing new out of it.”
So they are leaning toward buying at this point?
“Yeah, I think we’ll try to do that,” he said.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. just spoke to reporters in the Phillies’ dugout. He got asked about the importance of this team’s upcoming 10-game homestand, including seven games against the Braves and Nationals. Here are a few highlights of that interview. Check phillies.com later for more.
Q: How do you view the importance of this series?
A: This homestand more than anything else is probably the bigger questions. Very important. We’ve got to play well to stay in contention, clearly. I think we’ll know a lot more about this team after this homestand.
Q: If you don’t have a good homestand could the makeup of the team be different shortly thereafter?
A: It could be. It could be. I hope we’re adding to this club than subtracting. That’s the goal, but as I always say and I’ve been saying the same thing, the players will dictate it.
Q: Safe to say you have to have a winning record on this homestand? Does 5-5 cut it?
A: We’ll have to see. Probably, but we’ll have to see. But that depends how we get to 5-5, you know?
Q: Overstatement to say this homestand is make or break?
A: I don’t know. I don’t like to speak in absolutes all that much, but it’s an important one no question about it.
Q: Frustrating to see this team struggle?
A: Yeah, they’ve been a little enigmatic. I think this team has been a little bit of an enigma. We’ll see. We’ll find out more after this homestand, I think. These next 10 days are big.
Q: Do you view anybody on this team as an untouchable?
A: Some guys are a lot less touchable than others. But we’ll keep our eyes open, our ears open.
Q: How tough would it be to trade Chase Utley, considering his influence in this clubhouse?
A: Really tough. Really tough. Again, I see him as a Phillie for life. I’m not the most stubborn human being on the planet.
The Phillies are reluctant to trade Utley. I’m sure they would love him back next year. But you have to wonder if Utley, who will become a free agent after the season, will want to come back? Consider for a second if the Phillies trade Cliff Lee or Jonathan Papelbon or both. Say they trade Ruiz, etc. Will Utley believe this team can win in the near future? That is something the Phillies will have to consider as they approach the trade deadline. On the other hand, the Phillies are much more willing to trade Rollins. (You have to wonder how his comments Sunday that he wasn’t disappointed at all with their 1-3 series against the Dodgers played in the clubhouse and front office.) But Rollins isn’t nearly as easy to trade as Utley. Utley is a free agent after the season. He still is very productive offensively, when healthy. Rollins’ productive has dropped this season, and he has $22 million remaining on his deal, if his 2015 option automatically vests based on plate appearances.
If either is traded, however, it will signal a clear and significant change within the organization and a considerable culture shift within the clubhouse.
He had been scheduled to begin his rehab last night, but rain prevented that.
Don’t expect this to take very long. Probably just two or three games for Utley, who has not played since May 20 because of a strained right oblique. Remember, he played only nine rehab games after missing nearly three months of the season last year because of an injured knee. He has missed just a month this year, so that’s why I say just two or three games. I would be stunned if he’s not back before the end of the weekend.
He is getting closer to a return from the 15-day disabled list, but he said today at Target Field that no rehab assignment has been scheduled. But he has been swinging the bat this week, and he said it has gone well.
“So far, so good,” he said.
Utley has been on the DL since May 21 because of a strained right oblique. He said he could be back by the middle of the month. Of course, the middle of the month officially is this weekend, so maybe a return early next week is feasible. Utley probably won’t need more than a few games to return.
“I think it’s still realistic,” he said. “Everything has gone well so far. Tomorrow I’m going to probably do the same, maybe pick up the intensity a little bit and go from there. But I don’t have an actual date (in mind to return). … The guys who I’ve talked to, who have had this in the past, they said once you start swinging, a few said it was sore and they had to back off for a few days. So far I haven’t had to do that.”
“Yeah, it’s realistic,” he said.
Utley has been on the disabled list since May 21 with a strained right oblique. He said he already feels he can take a few swings with the bat, but will wait a little longer to avoid any chance of a setback. A strained oblique can be finicky.
“I am definitely feeling better,” he said. “I’m hoping to take some swings in the next three or four days, and at that point I’ll probably know where I’m at.”
Utley expects he will need some sort of rehab assignment, but it might be locally.
“We haven’t talked about it, but I don’t think Clearwater is in the plans,” he said.
But a rehab game in Double-A Reading or Triple-A Lehigh Valley might be.
“Possibly, yeah,” he said.
MLB just announced the top five players at every position, including the top 15 outfielders.
Brown is not among the top 15. I guess that isn’t a surprise. While Brown is hitting .329 with six doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, 36 RBIs and a 1.053 OPS since April 23, he only truly has gotten everybody’s attention in the last 10 games. He is hitting .447 (17-for-38) with one double, one triple, nine home runs, 17 RBIs and a 1.712 OPS in that stretch. Combine that late surge with lower attendance at Citizens Bank Park and Phillies fans not exactly excited about their team — thus they are not stuffing the ballot box like they have in the past — and Brown seems destined to the make the team as a reserve.
Chase Utley is the only Phillies player to be listed among the leaders, but he is a distant third among second basemen.
They were optimistic he would need just two.
But Utley still feels soreness in the oblique, so they said today he is going to need more time.
“It’s just an injury that’s tricky, so we have to be real careful with it,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He still feels tenderness in there, so we’ve got to be careful not to let it get to the point where it becomes even more of an injury. We’ll just slow play him until he’s ready.”
Asked if Utley had a setback, Amaro said, “No, not to my knowledge he hasn’t had a setback. He’s just still tender.”
Utley has not played since May 20, which makes him eligible to be activated June 5. But that won’t happen.