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We could see Chase Utley at third base soon

Sep 17, 2012, 7:58 PM EDT

Chase Utley Getty Getty Images

We heard late last month that Chase Utley was starting to take some grounders at third base to see if he could be an option at the position at some point down the road. The experiment could begin pretty soon.

After Utley worked out at third base again this afternoon at Citi Field, manager Charlie Manuel told John Gonzalez of that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility that the 33-year-old could play there in a game before the end of the season.

“We could,” Manuel said. “It depends on where we are. The next week will tell us where we are, probably … We’re going to run out of season pretty soon.”

In other words, the Phillies aren’t going to mess around if they feel like they are still in the race. However, after dropping three out of four games to the lowly Astros, the playoffs are suddenly looking like a remote possibility. It might not be long before they start looking ahead to 2013.

While there have been some concerns about Utley’s arm strength, Manuel believes a move to third base could help ease the burden on his knees. If he makes the switch next season, Freddy Galvis would likely take over as the starting second baseman. Galvis showed earlier this year that he was up to the task defensively, but he batted just .226/.254/.363 with a .617 OPS and 29/7 K/BB ratio in 200 plate appearances.

  1. xmatt0926x - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    I’m hoping it’s because they feel they can find an offensive 2nd baseman in the offseason. If this is a move to get Galvis in at 2nd base then I just don’t get it. Why not have Galvis make the transition to 3rd. The guy is a gold glove level fielder and has a stronger arm. I don’t care about the “power position” nonsense. 20 homers from Utley and 5 from Galvis will count just the same no matter what position they play, last time I checked. It’s going to stink having Galvis’ .210 bat in the lineup no matter what position he plays. I’m really hoping Ruben has something up his sleeve with this. Something up his sleeve not named Galvis.

    • prionogenic - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:33 AM

      You just made the argument for moving Chase to third!

      If 20 hr from Chase and 5 from Galvis count the same no matter where try play, why not maximize the ability of both by playing Utley at 3B and Galvis at 2B? At this point in their careers, Chase has diminished range and Galvis is a wiz with the glove at second. Having Utley at 3B presumably decreases his fielding workload and the strain on his knees.

      However, what works against playing Utley at 3B is the fact that he is (when healthy) one of the most productive second basemen at the plate, giving him such a high WAR value. At third he might just be slightly above average. Moreover, slugging third basemen are easier to find than slugging two-baggers.

      Regardless, any strategy that keeps #26’s bat in the lineup more consistently is a wise strategy, even if he doesn’t hit .320 with 30 HR and 100 RBI again, he still has the ability to send one out of the park at any given at bat. Plus he’s a patient hitter that is willing to take a BB or HBP to get one base

  2. mazblast - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    I think the Phils can handle having Galvis’ poor bat in the lineup, all things being equal. While a team usually can’t win with two dead spots in the 8-man lineup, they can handle having one if they have the firepower elsewhere. Remember that the Phillies have above average offense at C and SS.

    The real point is to keep Utley on the field as much as possible.

  3. Tim's Neighbor - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    I know Rollins is still above average, but Galvis is superior at SS. Why not move Rollins to 2b if Utley can play 3B?

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