MINNEAPOLIS – Chase Utley says the only time he thinks about the possibility of being traded away from the Phillies is when he’s asked about it by a reporter.
Well, Utley is back at the All-Star Game after a four-year absence and with that honor comes the requirement to participate in a question and answer session with reporters from all over the baseball-playing world.
So, Utley had to do a lot of thinking about the possibility of being traded on Monday afternoon.
His stance hasn’t changed from the times he’s addressed the situation over the last couple of months:
He loves being a Phillie.
He loves playing in Philadelphia. That’s why he signed a two-year contract extension with a series of option years with the team last summer.
He'd like to stay with the Phillies for as long as they will have him.
While Utley was consistent in stating his reasons for wanting to stay with the Phillies, he was also consistent in leaving a teeny-weenie bit of wiggle room. It’s called keeping your options open and it’s a smart thing to do.
Given that, Utley did not say he wanted to retire as a Phillie, though that sounds like his heart’s desire.
“I haven’t ever envisioned leaving Philadelphia, honestly,” Utley said. “I feel like I’m wanted in Philly. I feel like the fans appreciate the way I play. I feel like the front office appreciates the way I play. And I appreciate their support over the years. I don’t plan on going anywhere. But, again, if someone comes up to me and says, ‘You’re no longer wanted in Philly,’ then I’ll have to change my tune.”
Fat chance of anyone ever telling Utley he is no longer wanted in Philly.
The 35-year-old second baseman is loved by Phillies management, right up to the ownership level. It’s likely that the only way he’d ever be traded is if he spoke up and asked to be dealt. Even if management came to him with a proposed deal, he can shoot it down because he is a veteran of 10 years, five with the same club, and for that reason has full no-trade rights.
Utley was asked if he ever wondered what it would be like to play for another club.
“I’ve talked to guys who have played for the Phillies and gone on to other organizations and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” he said. “I’ve picked some brains the last few years. I really enjoy Philadelphia. I love playing baseball in Citizens Bank Park. I love playing in front of the Philly fans. There’s no better place to play in my opinion. Obviously winning is important and I would like to do that in Philadelphia.”
What if winning isn’t going to happen for a few years? What if the Phillies rebuild? Would that change Utley’s view?
“We'll just have to see how things go,” he said. “I signed up for two more years, this year and next year and hopefully longer than that assuming I continue to stay healthy. I don't really see that changing.”
Could there be a scenario where Utley ever went to management to initiate a trade.
“I guess there is a possibility for anything,” he said. “But at this point, I love playing in Philadelphia.”
The trade deadline arrives July 31.
Where will Utley be playing on Aug. 1?
“That’s a good question,” he said. “If I was a betting man, I would say probably there would be no change.”
Are you a betting man?
"Not really," Utley said