In a perfect world, Not Chase Utley is a seasoned third baseman. Not Chase Utley is a right-handed bat who can hit for power. According to Ruben Amaro, Not Chase Utley almost certainly is not Chase Utley.
The Chutley experiment at third base seems to have ended before it ever really got started, ending when the Phils' general manager admitted nobody in the organization is quite comfortable with that idea after all. Sure, maybe the career second baseman could make the switch, but how could we ever know for sure, especially in time for 2013?
I mean, I guess they could play him there over there for the last five games. Yeah, that doesn't sound desperate at all.
This was always some sort of pipe dream. Via Jim Salisbury:
“It’s kind of on hold, I guess,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said early Friday night. “He made progress [in workouts at third base.] It’s more a matter of practicality and what’s really best for the team.”
“After further review, we think this makes sense,” Amaro said. “He’s doing well over there. But in retrospect, we think it would be difficult to make an assessment on watching him play six games. We’re not good enough scouts to make an assessment on six games.”
“It’s not dead, but it’s kind of unfair for us to make an evaluation on six games and say, ‘Shazam, this guy can play the position,’” Amaro said.
Pretty sure Amaro may have put a magic spell on me the moment he said "Shazam," but it is also possible I simply find it hard to disagree with any thought that we're going to take a player who has been at one position his entire big league career and suddenly move him to another. I mean, it would not be the first time that's ever happened, but in this case we're also talking about a guy most fans wish would just play an entire season for a change.
You have to appreciate Utley for volunteering, but also should respect the front office for putting a stop to it before it really grows legs. The Phillies need a third baseman, and Chase Utley is not a third baseman. Yet looking at the barren free agent pool, we can only hope Not Chase Utley actually turns out to be a better option.