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Phillies GM suspects Chase Utley’s knee issues may linger

Oct 16, 2011, 12:39 PM EDT

utley ap AP

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged to Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Saturday that Chase Utley‘s patellar tendinitis could remain with him for the remainder of his MLB career:

“I don’t know if it’s behind him,” the GM said. “Is he going to be a 30-homer, 110-RBI guy and hit .300? I don’t know that. I hope he is. That will help us. Whatever we get out of Chase is going to help. I know he’ll strive to get to the point where he can maximize his numbers and production.”

Utley missed the first 40 or so games of the 2011 season due to the knee issues and batted just .259 with a .769 OPS when he did finally return. The five-time All-Star showed up in the postseason, going 7-for-16 in the Phillies’ NLDS loss to the Cardinals, but it’s safe to wonder — at the age of 32 — whether his best years are already behind him. A nine-year veteran, he is owed $15 million in 2012 and another $15 million in 2013.

  1. pkswally024 - Oct 16, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Since the coming of Scott Rolen, no other Phillies have had my heart like Chase. It’s sad to think that his prime is pretty much already passed. I hope he can bounce back. We need him.

  2. paperlions - Oct 16, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Utley will be 33 in December. I hate to state the obvious, but of course his best years are behind him.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 16, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      Lance Berkman had a hell of a year, no?

      • paperlions - Oct 16, 2011 at 6:02 PM

        He did….which was about the 7th best year of his career….meaning, clearly, that his best days are also behind him. Your best days being behind you doesn’t mean you now suck….it just means you are not as good as you used to be.

        Utley used to be a phenomenal player, now he’ll probably be only good for the next couple of years. As a rule, second baseman age poorly, the position must be really hard on one’s body, because they tend to decline early and quickly.

      • thefalcon123 - Oct 16, 2011 at 6:04 PM

        Yes, and it got a lot of attention because it’s very rare that players have great years after a clear decline in their 30′s.

        Berkman is the exception, no the rule.

    • JBerardi - Oct 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      Chase Utley was so good in his best years that a mediocre player could win an MVP award just by standing next to him on the diamond.

  3. Kyle - Oct 16, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    I’d venture to guess he can still be worth that 30 mill to the Phils, past his prime or no.

  4. bleedgreen - Oct 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    I don’t think it matters whether he’s “worth” it or not. He’s gonna get his money, and he’ll get another contract after this one unless he chooses to retire. Chase is our Derek Jeter, and the FO isn’t dumb enough to let him go somewhere else with the love and adoration he enjoys in the city of Philadelphia. We like Jimmy and Ryan. We LOVE Chase Utley.

  5. nocryinginbaseball07 - Oct 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    So true, except that I put Jimmy right up there with Chase. That’s what makes this team unique; so many truly lovable characters. Now, if they could just fix that batting part ……

  6. thefalcon123 - Oct 16, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    2nd basemen seem to age more rapidly than most. Sandberg posted an OPS+ over 100 for the last time at age 33, ditto Robby Alomar. Hornsby had over 400 PAs just once after age 32. Doerr was out of baseball at 33, etc. There are obvious exceptions (Whitaker, Collins, Gehringer), but as a whole, they decline a bit faster.

    This is the 3rd straight year Utley’s numbers have gone down. The last two seasons, he’s combined for an .802 OPS. I highly doubt he’ll be back to 07 form.

    • paperlions - Oct 16, 2011 at 6:07 PM

      Blasphemer!

  7. xmatt0926x - Oct 16, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    The thing with people’s disbelief that Utley’s carrer is winding down is that they forget how old he was when he came up. He was like 26 . People see that he has only been a regular for 5 or 6 years and expect many more good years but they forget he’s actually an “old” 2nd baseman at this point. I still think that if he realizes that he’s not a power guy anymore that he could still hit .300 if he concentrated on being strictly a contact hitter.

    • mgflolox - Oct 17, 2011 at 3:35 AM

      Chase seems like he has a very high “baseball IQ” (like Rickey henderson, Joe Morgan, Wade Boggs,…etc. ) I think/hope he will realize what his skills are and how to best utilize them to help his team win. I think that, as long as he can stay on the field, he can help a team win. He may not ever be an MVP candidate again, but he can still be a very valuable player for a few more years.

  8. jayswin93 - Oct 16, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    Blue Jays will take Chase off Phillies hands. Heck, they still owe us for Doc.

  9. bilbaox - Oct 17, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    Some of you guys are pretty sentimental. The entire infield has bad legs and other medical problems and are well past their prime. Mr Amaro needs to move these guys and replace them with prospects while the pitching is still dominant. Moved or not, RyanHoward needs to drop 50, strange nobody has mentioned how he has ballooned ( and non coincidentally his production has declined ) over the past few years. His legs just cant support that weight. Hence that injury. Which is a blessing in disguise ’cause now Mayberry gets playing and development time at 1B.

    Even that great pitching staff can’t drag the Phillies over the starting line with what is at best a AAA level minor league infield. All four guys need to be moved and replaced with young’uns. The team can still hide behind the pitching staff for a couple years till the young’uns develop major league skills. OK, they’ll have to eat $17 million a year or so to move Ryan Howard, but move him they must while he still has value. He’d make a fair DH and maybe someone, a real hitting coach, can make a professional hitter out of him. Like. reduce his strikeouts to a hundred or so per season. Take pitchers deep in the count. Get his BA up in the 270s. Etc.

    So there is my .03 cents

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