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‘Tis the season for irrational personnel suggestions

Nov 1, 2010, 8:30 AM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies  v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

If it weren’t for that pesky First Amendment I’d campaign for a law that forbids partisans of any baseball team from suggesting personnel moves until a good ten days after the World Series ends, because almost anything that comes out in that vein is reactionary and fairly stupid. As soon as the Yankees were eliminated there were people talking about trading Nick Swisher, which makes no sense. Lately a certain brand of Phillies people are trying to pass off this kind of baloney:

Chase Utley has been haunted by one injury after the next. His defense at second base has gone from acceptable to poor. His offensive production is deteriorating at troubling speed.

So exactly what was so outrageous again about the notion of moving Utley to the outfield earlier in his career?

While far less than a populist view, the Utley-to-the-outfield initiative was advanced by the enlightened. Loosely based on the Alfonso Soriano-Robin Yount model, the idea was to provide full protection of Utley as a power hitter by minimizing his inning-to-inning physical stress. Naturally, it was shouted down. The best thoughts usually are.

Utley made a couple of bad plays at second in the playoffs and now people are trying to argue that he’s no good at second anymore. Meanwhile back in the world of the reality-based, he’s still pretty obviously the best second baseman in the National League. Sure he got hurt this year, but by just about every measure he was just as good defensively in 2010 as he’s ever been.

Perhaps there will come a time when moving him to the outfield makes sense. That day, however, is not today.

  1. phillysoulfan - Nov 1, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    I agree. I don’t see what moving him to the outfield will do other than making your outfield defense weaker. However, his offense has gone down ever year for the last 3 years and his hip is not getting any better. So the Phillies need to do one of two things, get better backups so he can rest once or twice a week or trade him.

  2. cwkash - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    I don’t know. 2B have a history of wearing down and losing their offense early. Jeff Kent is the exception, not the rule and he really wasn’t much of a defensive 2B anyway. If Utley were amenable to it why not flip him with Polanco at 3B, considering Polanco’s coming off elbow surgery?
    For a team with such good starting pitching their infield defense was, to my eyes, mediocre to poor this season. Howard isn’t particularly good, Utley has lost a step or 2 and Rollins range seems to have decreased with all the leg injuries he’s had. It might be in the Phillies best interests to get a better glove somewhere on the infield.

    • phillysoulfan - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:09 AM

      Utley doesn’t have the arm to play 3rd. They tried that when Polanco was here the first time. They moved Utley to third, in the minors, and he couldn’t play there.

  3. Jonny 5 - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    Utley in 2010 was ranked #1 in the game. The 2011 season has him ranked at #2 behind Cano. So the second best ranked second baseman isn’t good enough for this dipshit? People who know nothing should not be allowed to type articles. Period.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:29 AM

      And Utley’s defense, per UZR, was still amazing. Three year run of 18.4, 11.2, and 10.3. Although I’d be worried about the hip. We’re seeing it with Arod, but luckily Utley still has immense talent on D whereas Arod is just league average at best :(

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:55 AM

        A-rod has the “O” to back up his average “D” . Until he can’t hit, he’ll be there to remind you how average he really is on the defensive side. I’d say he more than makes up for it with his bat.

  4. flyerscup2010 - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    i don’t even know what the “times herald” is. whoever wrote that article, it has zero credibility.

    i gotta say, for as idiotic as the utley to outfield idea is, the whole “trade rollins” or “trade howard” thing is pissing me off considerably more.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:33 AM

      Rollins needs to prove he can go three weeks without pulling his hammy. Dude needs to work his legs out big time for 2011 season. And I love me some Jimmy Rollins. He doesn’t help when he’s DL’d though… Every time his Offense started getting warmed up, he would be out again..

  5. Jonny 5 - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    I’m pissed. Carlos Ruiz is not even in the top 15 for catchers for 2011 ranked by Rotoprofessor. Is he serious? OBP .400 SLG .447 OPS .847 AVG .302 . For a catcher that has to be some of the highest of the season yet he isn’t even in the top 15?

    • Charles Gates - Nov 1, 2010 at 12:24 PM

      Real life production doesn’t always equal fantasy production. Ruiz is hugely under rated as an offensive catcher, but the stats don’t translate well to fantasy (43 R, 8 HR, 53 RBI). The opposite side of the spectrum is Jimmy Rollins, who is pretty valuable in fantasy but waaaaaaay over rated in real baseball. Because he bats leadoff, he scores a lot of runs and normally swipes bags, but he has a .328 life time OBP. The dude makes way too many outs.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 1, 2010 at 12:42 PM

        Thanks Gates. I’m not into fantasy baseball, and now that you put into that perspective, I can see how he doesn’t equal much in fantasy. His 2010 season was a top 5 finish for the position, i think…….. if not, he’s 5.5 on the list.

  6. BC - Nov 1, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    I’d be 1000 times more worred about Jimmy Rollins than Chase Utley. When Utley was in there, for the most part he was his usual self. Anyone can make a bad play in the playoffs. It doesn’t offset the 9000 really good plays the guy made. Rollins, meanwhile, looks like he’s done or close to done, and he’s not getting any younger. They need a Plan B at SS before they worry about Utley.

  7. Utley's Hair - Nov 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Before we go all nuclear on this guy’s ass about saying Chase, we need to keep it in perspective. He also said that Valdez is better than JRoll. So, he’s obviously an idiot, thereby not warranting even scorn, just pity.

    http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2010/09/23/sports/doc4c9ac19cb3413887367027.txt

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 1, 2010 at 11:17 AM

      He is better than J-roll. At hitting into DP’s…..

      • Utley's Hair - Nov 1, 2010 at 1:43 PM

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the Phightins would’ve made it as far as they did without Exxon, but there is no way that he’s better than JRoll. There’s a reason why McCaffrey writes for the Delco Times, which is a joke of a publication that appears to be written on a fourth grade level and edited on a third grade level—he’s a joke himself.

  8. Kevin S. - Nov 1, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    The one reason to consider moving Utley now would be to protect the hip, since that gets a lot of wear with the pivot and second basemen tend to wear down early. Moving because you no longer think his defense is up to snuff, however, is insane.

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