The Angels thought they were close to acquiring Phillies second baseman Chase Utley yesterday, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The club still hopes to add the veteran second baseman per Gonzalez although the team is more pessimistic than yesterday per reports. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal points out that it’s a complicated trade (via Twitter). The Phillies have to agree on a prospect, the two sides have to work out the roughly $6MM guaranteed left on his contract, and Utley has full no-trade protection. He plans to use it to ensure he’ll have an active role on his new club.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times adds (tweet) that Utley is also considering the 2016 season with regard to his no-trade rights. Since his $16MM vesting option is out of reach, Utley will have a club option valued between $5MM and $11MM based on time spent on the disabled list. This is my speculation, but it’s possible Utley may ask to have the option guaranteed.
While many assume an acquiring team will opt to use his $2MM buyout, the 2014 version of Utley was well worth a one-year deal of no more than $11MM. Per FanGraphs’ WAR metric, Utley was worth 4.5 wins last season. While his 2015 numbers are obviously miserable, Utley reportedly made a mechanical fix related to his injured ankle. FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan has the details with some video. As of this writing, Utley is 13-for-25 since returning from the disabled list with six extra base hits (including a double and a home run tonight). For now, it’s believable that he’s reverted to his previous talent level.