Third base in Utley’s future?

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The Philadelphia Daily News reported today that Philadelphia Phillies slugger Chase Utley has approached management about a possible position change. Utley has started to consider making the move to third base like many other aging infielders have done. A move would do two things help the team fill a position of weakness while preserving his knees and therefore hopefully extending his career.

“I thought it could be an option in the future,” Utley said. “It’s way too early to have an opinion either way on how it’s going to go. But I’m going to take some more groundballs there in the future. But who knows what the future has in store.”

There are several issues that could be addressed by a move to third. First and foremost is giving the Phillies an option to plug in at the position, which features no near-major-league-ready players in the system and few attractive options on the free agent market. If Utley were able to play third, it could allow the Phillies to pursue a second baseman (Blue Jays slugger Kelly Johnson is one potential free agent).

“I think if I’m able to play over there it could create some more flexibility as far as the organization is concerned,” Utley said. “It may not. It’s just something I wanted to give a try.” (High Cheese – Philadelphia Daily News)

Personally, I like the idea.

The third base market this winter is going to be pretty weak and the Phillies have no one that can contribute, moving Utley there would help solve that need. He was always an above average hitter at second base and that won’t change at third, he’d still be one of the better hitting guys at his position.

The move would also allow the Phillies to let Freddy Galvis to play second base in 2012 after he returns from his back injury. He’s not that great of a hitter but plays some very good defense at second, which is what you really want from the position especially in the National League.

The only question I would actually have is can Utley’s arm handle the move to third? He’s never been known as having one of the strongest arms which isn’t good because at third he would need a strong arm. That can always be masked though by good positioning.

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General Ruben Amaro Jr has his hands full this summer in trying to improve this team. The Phillies have some financial constraints, a weak free agent market and a lack of minor leaguers ready to contribute, so you would think he would consider all options.

Well, Utley’s given him one intriguing option where the benefits could far out weight the negatives. Does Ruben make the move?

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