In their first significant move since Zack Greinke’s departure, the Los Angeles Dodgers have re-signed second baseman Chase Utley to a one-year deal, Yahoo! Sports‘ Jeff Passan has confirmed.
Sources: Chase Utley agrees to a one-year deal with the Dodgers. @Ken_Rosenthal said it was close.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 6, 2015
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Utley’s new deal is expected to be worth about $7 million.
Utley, 36, was acquired by the Dodgers in August as the team tried to bolster its offense. But Utley continued to struggle at the plate, hitting just.202 with three HR and nine RBI through 34 games in Los Angeles. Combined between the Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, Utley hit.212 with eight HR and 39 RBI in 107 games.
In recent years, the longtime Philadelphia Phillies’ infielder has endured a myriad of injuries, costing him both significant playing time and effectiveness on the field.
However, his stint with the 2015 Dodgers did not go by without controversy. In Game 2 of the NLDS versus the New York Mets, Utley took out Mets’ shortstop Ruben Tejada with a slide at second base — trying to break up a double play.
The hearing for Utley’s appeal is still scheduled to take place at some point and he will have to serve any suspension time next season.
Now, he will enter 2016 as the Dodgers’ primary option at second base, but the team does have options at the position. Enrique Hernandez, 24, hit.307 with seven HR and 22 RBI through 76 games in a super-utility role for the team in 2015. The Dodgers also have 21-year-old top prospect Jose Peraza waiting in the wings. While he does not have the pop of Utley or Hernandez, he does offer youth and speed. Peraza appeared in seven games for the Dodgers in 2015.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is also reporting that the Dodgers are in talks with the Cincinnati Reds to acquire flamethrowing closer Aroldis Chapman.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2015
Just hours before Rosenthal’s report, Jon Heyman tweeted that Reds’ GM Dick Williams expects to deal his All-Star closer. With Chapman set to hit free agency after 2016 and the Reds not expected to compete, a trade makes sense. Also, with Chapman’s excellent track record, the Reds would likely acquire a considerable amount of talent in exchange for Chapman.
Another appeal to having Chapman is his reliability as he has not appeared in less than 54 games since his first full season in 2011.
While the Dodgers lost out on Greinke — who signed a six-year, $206 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks — beefing up the back of their bullpen with a potential duo of Chapman and current closer Kenley Jassen would likely offset losing their former ace. The Dodgers have also been connected to several starting pitchers, including Hisashi Iwakuma and Johnny Cueto as the team tries to field a winning ballclub for the 2016 season.
[Image by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]