Chase Utley is the Philadelphia Phillies lone representative at the 2014 MLB All-Star Game that takes place tonight out in Minnesota.
This is a moment worth recognizing, surely. So yesterday I had a conversation with a fellow The700Level writer that went something like this: "Utley is an All-Star. We should probably at least do *something* on that." "Yeah, but what? Nobody seems to care."
There's some truth to that. I think people still care about Chase Utley. But they don't really care about the fact he's playing in this year's All-Star Game. Mostly because they just don't care about the All-Star Game.
But everything with Chase is amplified these days due to the "this could be his last [insert thing] in a Phillies uniform" sentiment. Chase Utley could get traded if he wants to. But it doesn't really seem like he ever wants to leave Philadelphia. Still, that prospect is jarring. And trade talk is the only interesting conversation around the ball club these days.
Phillies scribe Matt Gelb caught up with Utley's former teammate and current San Francisco Giant Hunter Pence out in Minneapolis:
"Are they trying to trade him?" Hunter Pence, a former teammate, wondered from across the room. "Chase is a lifer there."
Years ago, I'd probably follow that up with, "We hope." But given the current state of the franchise, it's more of a, "Yeah, probably."
Utley is seemingly saying all the right things: "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." He wants to play here until he's not wanted any longer. Fine. But is that the absolute best thing for this organization? Would they be better off keeping Utley through a rebuild? Or would they be better trading him to jump start the rebuild?
Chase is also in a position where he can't really go wrong. If he stays and finishes out his career in Philly, fans will love him for his loyalty and we'll always have 2008 and maybe even more South Philly residents will get "The Man" tattoos or something. There will likely be plenty of losses on the field, but fans will still have their guy from the glory days who stuck with them through the bad times. And if he gets traded, fans will probably respect the guy who just wanted to win. They'll have Ruben Amaro Jr. to blame for not making that possible for No. 26 in Philadelphia.
Either way, it's not really Chase's fault.