Possible Plan Bs For Chase Utley

Phillies team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti released a statement this morning regarding second baseman Chase Utley; here's an excerpt:

An MRI was obtained that demonstrated his prior tendinitis, chondromalacia, and bone inflammation.  His chondromalacia symptoms persisted in spite of focused non-operative care, including a cortisone injection.  A subsequent cartilage-specific MRI was obtained confirming the initial diagnosis.  Continued non-operative treatment is being carried out and additional opinions will be obtained.

Additionally, here are comments from GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and head trainer Scott Sheridan, passed along by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.  Amaro at least is not considering the idea that Utley could miss the season.

ESPN's Buster Olney presumes the Phillies are at least considering which second base candidates might become available this season.  We'll start with his two speculative ideas, and add a few more.

  • Chone Figgins, Mariners:  Figgins' value is at a low point, he's owed $26MM over the next three years at the least, and switching him to second base again would be questionable.
  • Jeff Keppinger, Astros:  He's making $2.3MM this year and is under team control for 2012 as an arbitration eligible player.  He could be a good fit.    
  • David Eckstein, free agent:  SI's Jon Heyman made this suggestion on Twitter.  On a minor league deal, there's no harm in adding Eckstein or a similar free agent.  Others include Willy Aybar, Julio Lugo, Bobby Crosby, and Cristian Guzman, although Guzman will miss at least the first half due to family issues.
  • Michael Young, Rangers:  Between Young's contract and Adrian Beltre's injury, this is difficult to picture.  Plus it'd create another uncomfortable situation when Utley is ready to play.  Heyman tweets that while the Phillies have not been in contact with the Rangers lately, top scout Charley Kerfeld is following them and Young.
  • Felipe Lopez, Rays:  Lopez is battling with out of options Elliot Johnson for the Rays' utility infielder job.  Johnson is dealing with a quad injury currently.  It's possible Lopez has an opt-out if he doesn't make the team.
  • Luis Castillo, Mets: If Castillo is released the Phillies could take a look, but they might prefer their internal options.  Castillo would only cost the league minimum.
  • Ramon Santiago, Tigers: He "could be a possibility" for the Phillies, tweets CBS' Danny Knobler.

Internally, the Phillies have Wilson Valdez and Brian Bocock on the 40-man roster and Josh Barfield and Pete Orr as non-roster invitees. 

Six days ago, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said regarding Utley's injury, "I'm not going to be doing anything else because of this.  I mean, we'll watch some of the other guys play, but we expect (Utley) to be our second baseman."  Look for the Phillies to make a minor addition at most unless Utley's condition takes a turn for the worse.


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104 Comments on "Possible Plan Bs For Chase Utley"


rockfordone
4 years 5 months ago

Phillies are a pretty old team.

4 years 5 months ago

So are the Yankees and the Red Sox. Young teams rarely ever win in baseball. Look at the Giants. Yeah their pitching was young but their offense was mostly made up of not only older players but older journeyman players.

themadman0307
4 years 5 months ago

Delwyn Young has been having a decent Spring…

nm344
4 years 5 months ago

I think he makes the club, especially since he can play the OF while Dom Brown is on the mend

Rick Garcia
4 years 5 months ago

I like the Keppinger idea…plus when Utley does comeback he’d be great off the bench to ease Utley back into everyday play

nm344
4 years 5 months ago

and its Ed Wade, we all know what that means.

yazpik
4 years 5 months ago

Figgins and 13.5 millions for Domonic Brown??

Lunchbox45
4 years 5 months ago

look up ‘leverage’ in the dictionary

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

Forget leverage, look up “lunacy”. Brown is an integral part of their future.

notsureifsrs
4 years 5 months ago

just looked up lunacy. who is this tony reagins fella

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

“That was mean”.

O.Minaya

TartanElk
4 years 5 months ago

Can Reagins pitch? I like the sound of him.

-B. Cashman

——

Brian, that’s the GM of the Angels

-H.Steinbrenner

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

You have that backwards. Hank is the clueless one. Cashman is the one trying to keep him from doing dumb things. Get it right if you’re going to mock them. :)

TartanElk
4 years 5 months ago

Let me see if I got this then.

So we should change the Cashman line to:

Can he pitch?

-H. Steinbrenner

——-

Hank, Reagins is the GM for the Angels. You know, the one who WANTED Vernon Wells?

-B. Cashman

OHMIGOD WE’VE BEEN DOING IT WRONG

notsureifsrs
4 years 5 months ago

doing it wrong is the new doing it right, dude. it’s going to catch on like that dollarball thing

– t. reagins

East Coast Bias
4 years 5 months ago

dollarball lol

TartanElk
4 years 5 months ago

Moneyball Tony, Moneyball.

-B. Beane

—-

Oh yeah. Jered Weaver for Rich Harden?

-T. Reagins

—-

You, my good sir, have yourself a deal.

-B. Beane

Brad Johnson
4 years 5 months ago

Jose Lopez seems like another solid option. The presence of Placido Polanco will let the Phillies look at 3b’s to fill Utley’s shoes too.

Jeremiah Graves
4 years 5 months ago

Wouldn’t it be easier to slide Polanco back over to 2B and sign someone like Joe Crede off the scrap heap until Utley gets back?! If nothing else they’d be awesome defensively and Crede could mash with some right-handed pop–that they need–until Utley is healthy.

They could also roll the dice on a short-term thing with Troy Glaus. The dude has played 1B/3B/SS/LF, I’m sure he could handle some part-time duty at 3B/2B over a short-period. The defense wouldn’t be pretty, but when he’s locked in he can carry a team.

Just brainstorming…

Michael Brown
4 years 5 months ago

If you saw Glaus play for us after July last year, you would see 3B is not an option at this point in his career, much less 2B?!?

Brad426
4 years 5 months ago

Amen. Watching that poor guy trying to hobble around at 1B made MY knees hurt.

4 years 5 months ago

Jeremiah, you suggesting that Glaus play 2B suggests to me that you shouldn’t be making comments about baseball.

adropofvenom
4 years 5 months ago

Hey Philly, you can have Castillo. Please play him often.

Signed,

– Mets fans.

Lunchbox45
4 years 5 months ago

Wow this is terrible news for the phillies… this is why you can’t pick a WS winner in March

nm344
4 years 5 months ago

a condition that probably wont even need surgery in early march? Yep, write off 2011.

Brad426
4 years 5 months ago

Don’t know where you’re getting the “probably” part from. Seems like they are pushing hard for the non-surgery options, but so far they haven’t helped.

nm344
4 years 5 months ago

Look up treatment for chondromalacia

“Treatment with surgery is declining in popularity for two reasons: good outcomes without surgery, and the small number of patients who actually benefit from surgical treatment. “

Brad426
4 years 5 months ago

Tell the whole story, though:

“There are surgical options for the treatment of chondromalacia, but the best results of treatment are found with rest and therapy, so unless you give these conservative measures a very good effort (3 to 6 months), it is not worth considering surgery. “

nm344
4 years 5 months ago

The other story is that Utley has had this condition before and bounced back just fine.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

Not to be a doomsday type but I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. This has to do with degenerative cartilage in his knee. It’s not like an infection that you treat and it goes away. It’s an issue that you either treat with rest and therapy or thru surgery. You also must assume that the condition is made more serious with lots of running, jumping, sudden stop and go cutting motions and sliding not to mention all the scrapes and wear and tear that comes with trying to turn DB at 2B.

I seriously hope it doesn’t effect his game long term or his after baseball quality of life. I have hurt my left knee plenty of times starting with playing football on concrete when I was a teen (urban life,no football fields). I’ve injured it 5x since and I’m a big guy. Walking up stairs becomes a pain with little cartilage in between your knee cap.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

DP’s @ 2b

notsureifsrs
4 years 5 months ago

FINISH HIM

TartanElk
4 years 5 months ago

Are we gonna go Reptile style? Sub-Zero? Maybe Liu Kang?

notsureifsrs
4 years 5 months ago

toasty!

Slopeboy
4 years 5 months ago

Somehow that remedy doesn’t seem to fit the profile for a person who makes his living as a Professional Baseball player.
Not to sound Doom and Gloom here, but the first news was that is was simple soreness, then paetella tendonitis, now it’s Condromalacia, all in the span of a few weeks.For Utely’s sake, I hope it wasn’t the Mets’ medical staff that came out with these reports.

Brad426
4 years 5 months ago

Yeah, you’re arguing my point. He was saying he “probably” wouldn’t need surgery and I was arguing that the non-surgical treatments involve 3-6 months of rest. I’m certainly not wishing any ill on Utley… despite being a Braves fan I like Utley and like to watch him play. Just saying this doesn’t look good.

GMwannabe
4 years 5 months ago

Domonic Brown??? come on

nick1538
4 years 5 months ago

I don’t see them trading, but picking up Eckstein or Crede (Polanco to 2B) would make sense.

Jason Klinger
4 years 5 months ago

I like both of these options. They’re low-cost, low-risk investments. It also gives you time to let the injury play out. If Utley heals, the sub hits the bench. If Utley doesn’t heal, the Phillies can start looking to make a deadline deal for a better player.

phoenix2042
4 years 5 months ago

SIGN JULIO LUGO. seriously though, it amazes me that the Orioles played him and cezar izturis on a regular basis.

thejohnoparty
4 years 5 months ago

the only one i would consider, is Figgins because you could put him at 3B(Polly at 2B), lead him off(still has the ability to have close to .400 OBP and steal 40 bases IMO), and put JRoll in the 3 hole.

u would still have Howard, Ibanez, Francisco as the main power/rbi sources..
but having Figgins, Rollins(who can also hit over 20 homers, and 30/40 doubles), and Victorino all getting on-base and stealing bags(probably over 30 a piece)… sounds like a nightmare for opposing pitchers.
wouldn’t want to give up too much for him though..

other than that, i’m fine with alternating Polly/Barfield at 2B and Polly/Valdez at 3B. both looking great in spring training and i think could do a decent job til Utley comes back.

Brad426
4 years 5 months ago

Depends on how long before he is back. If he is just going to miss the first couple of weeks of the season then there is no reason to panic and the combos of Polanco/Barfield/Valdez will be fine. If he is going to miss extended time then the Figgins idea seems like the best bet.

4 years 5 months ago

Do you think that Seattle would take back Aumont, Gillies, and Ramierez from the Cliff Lee trade in return for Figgins at this point?

Sadly I think they would laugh and hang up the phone if Rube tried it.

nm344
4 years 5 months ago

Rube wouldn’t trade a bucket of beans for Figgins, he’s not worth what he’s paid.

rayking
4 years 5 months ago

Felipe Lopez is not a legitimate option. My personal hope would be that Josh Barfield plays well enough in spring training to make the team and temporarily fill the Utley void, always liked that guy, but that’s probably wishful thinking.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

Yeah Lil Barf was a decent looking player his 1st year with the Indians.

kistics
4 years 5 months ago

Luis Castillo!! LOL

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

2 words: Marco Scutaro. He can play 2B as needed and back up 2B/SS if/when Utley returns. Boston gets to slide Lowrie into the starting SS role and can call up Navarro to be the utility infielder.

4 years 5 months ago

That’s a good one, except maybe for the price.

4 years 5 months ago

But I don’t like any Jed Lowrie rumor that doesn’t involve the Braves…time to magick up some more Michael Young rumors, Tim.

-C

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Red Sox ate some of the money owed to Scoot ($1M-$2M). Some of the other players you proposed have financial restrictions as well (Figgins and Young) and at least Scoot is only on a 1 year deal and has shown an ability to play in a reserve role in the past. Also, for tax purposes having $1.5M of the money owed to him deferred into the 2012 season (as a buyout) is a plus as well (The Phillies look like they’re close to the tax on Cot’s).

Overall I do agree though that a low cost option is far more likely.

Jason Klinger
4 years 5 months ago

Interesting idea, but the Phillies have nothing the Sox need. They’re not going to send Scutaro to Philadelphia out of the kindness of their heart.

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sox sent him there to rid themselves of at least some of the $6.5M Scutaro is owed ($5M this year, $1.5M buyout next year). I’m not that familiar with the Phillies prospects, but I don’t think Boston would be looking for anything major depending on how much money they could dump.

Edit: corrected salary figures

notsureifsrs
4 years 5 months ago

whaaat. scutaro is a solid shortstop (those are super-scarce) with a good contract, not a bad one – which includes an affordable club option for next year. add to that the fact that jed lowrie for all his potential is forever a stiff breeze away from his next DL trip and you can bet that unless the phils offer something of value, there isn’t much chance of boston moving scutaro

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

The club option will not be picked up, he simply isn’t needed in any capacity beyond this year (Lowrie is arb eligible, Iglesias and Navarro should be ready as well). I’m not saying he has a terrible deal, but he’s an expensive insurance plan. Lowrie has had 1 single injury in his career. Was it handled properly in the first place? No. But it has healed. Unless by stiff breeze you mean cold breeze, then last years illness is of no concern. The kid got mono, he’s over it and he showed what he can do last year. Right now the real benefit that Scoot gives the Red Sox is the ability to play average SS (assuming his shoulder is healthy, I haven’t had a chance to see him play this spring), which allows Lowrie to play 3rd vs lefties, sliding Youk to DH and getting Papi’s terrible bat (vs. lefties) out of the lineup.

If Boston would consider moving Cam to move his $7.75M tax figure, why shouldn’t they consider the same thing with someone who plays 1 less position, with worse defense who has a tax number of $5.5M with an additional hit of $1.5M next season?

notsureifsrs
4 years 5 months ago

“Right now the real benefit that Scoot gives the Red Sox is the ability to play average SS”

in short (lol), i think you are seriously underestimating what this is worth on the market for a $6MM pricetag. even if iglesias is ready next year, he’s not ready now. moving scutaro means depending on lowrie full-time with untested and largely unproven navarro as the backup IF. not the kind of thing that helps you sleep soundly at night during a pennant race

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

After posting that I actually saw the Scoot ranked 6th last year in OPS among regular SS’s, so I agree that the Sox certainly shouldn’t have to eat any money and that they should be able to get something decent in return. Now, I still wouldn’t be opposed to them moving Scoot, but I certainly see where you’re coming from.

As a side note, have you had a chance to see Scoot make any throws from SS this spring? How does the shoulder look?

notsureifsrs
4 years 5 months ago

noticeably better, though there’s no telling how another full season will take its toll. really i’m much more concerned with 2011 than 2012. i feel so much better with him around in reserve than navarro, it would take something nice in return for me to want to give that up

i was going to mention his probable elias status too, but i suppose an arb offer is mostly out of the question with him

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

Personally, I don’t consider a $6M club option an affordable option for someone who projects to be the 3rd best SS on the team in 2012 (Iglesias, Lowrie).

notsureifsrs
4 years 5 months ago

i respect your opinion, but that is quite the optimistic outlook for iglesias – a 20 y/o defensive prospect with 200 underwhelming PAs at AA last year. and even if i thought scutaro would be the 3rd best shortstop in boston in 2012, i think i might keep him around just for his value to other clubs. 2-3 WAR shortstops for that money just can’t be found

if philly offered a legitimate piece, it’s another discussion. but moving scutaro just for the money just doesn’t add up in my mind

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

For the most part, see my other response to you. I will say though that SS is a defense first position and Iglesias has it. Also it doesn’t take much offense to be above average right now (Scoot was 6th in OPS). I’d project a little less offense with much better defense from Iglesias, as for Lowrie I feel he offers better offense with negligible defensive drop off.

Everything Iglesias has shown in the minors points to an ability to hit at an average rate (albeit in a small sample), which is more than enough considering his glove. We will certainly know more before any decision regarding Scoot’s option needs to be made, but right now I think all signs point to Iglesias/Lowrie in 2012.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

Scutaro is an affordale insurance policy, as good as his glove Iglesias will not become an everyday SS for the Sox if he can’t hit above .200 in the majors. I’m sure he will be at least an average mlb hitter, but he might be more than a year away.

Yanks have a great glove SS too in Pena and he makes Jeter look like Venus De Milo but he “aint” bumpin’ anyone off because his bat needs more developement.

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

What makes you think he won’t hit above .200? His worst showing in pro ball so far he hit .269 in the AFL. In 221 AB’s he hit .285 in AA last year and that was his 1st professional season. 2012 would be his 3rd pro year, it seems safe to assume some sort of progression from his current rates, especially considering his age.

What he really needs to work on is plate discipline, take a couple more walks to boost that OBP.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

Forgot I was talking to a Sox fan. Don’t take the .200 literal. Didn’t mean to insult the “gifted” one. But he’s only had 260 AB and you can’t really base mlb expectations off of that small sample size. Not long enough to know how he will adjust once there’s a book out on him. Meanwhile, Lowrie and Scutaro make for very affordable saftey nets should he struggle, need more seasoning or be underwhelming at the mlb level.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

Same can be said for Jesus Montero. He seems like a sure thing but having Russell Martin around for 2011 and an option for 2012 should act as the Yanks safety net in case he isn’t ready or can’t handle mlb level play.

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

I’m certainly not one to question Montero’s bat, but I believe Martin was brought in because Yankees Brass thought Montero needed more work defensively, based on reports from the Yankee camp, he’s progressed further in that area than they had expected, so kudos to him. To be honest, I don’t expect Martin to be around in 2012 either considering his arb raise from this $4M would be fairly expensive for a backup catcher (although there is certainly room in the budget).

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

I agree that it’s a small sample, but there haven’t been any red flags in that sample. We aren’t looking for him to have a big bat, we want his GG defense and if he can have an MLB average SS bat (fairly low standard if you look around MLB), all the better. His development this year should tell us a lot about his potential for 2012, but right now expectations are that he will break camp with the Sox in 2012 (although I could see his service time manipulated to provide an extra year of team control).

JB3
4 years 5 months ago

I will also say that I’m giving him credit for playing in AA and the AFL at age 20 and assuming that his numbers improve as he becomes more age appropriate.

mgsports
4 years 5 months ago

Pedro Feliz?
Ibanez has played 3B before and can go get another OF then.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 5 months ago

“Ibanez has played 3B before..”. Sarcasm is that you?

nm344
4 years 5 months ago

Mark DeRosa would be great. Not only can he play 2nd, 3rd and OF but he bats RH and still has some pop

4 years 5 months ago

Trade for Michael Young, put him at 3rd and Polanco and 2nd. When Utley comes back, ship Rollins off somewhere and put Young at Short. Young will bat fifth with out complaining like J-Roll does.

nm344
4 years 5 months ago

Except Rollins can play good defense at SS.

Jason Klinger
4 years 5 months ago

That’s a pretty good plan. I’m just not sure Rollins has much value these days, beyond his stellar defense. Injuries and age have really chipped away at him.

phoenix2042
4 years 5 months ago

young should not be allowed to play SS ever and besides, he costs way too much considering the payroll commitments the Phillies have.

mgsports
4 years 5 months ago

Wood because Albert C. is the 3B?
Vitters?
Kevin K from A’s?
Eric Hinske?

4 years 5 months ago

Its easy to fantasize but RAJ is just not going to spend the money on a Figgins or Young. I think the Phillies are tapped out on big money players. Also, what do you do with them if Utley returns to form in a few months. Do you sit them then. You need a player who is low cost and wouldn’t mind being a bench player later. So I also favor Eckstein on a minor league deal…the guy would be a great role player on this team. I also liked the Crede idea. I know he has had a rough time of it, but hopefully his injuries are mostly in the past. Castillo? You got to be kidding!