10:24pm: Morosi clarifies that Utley was actually placed on waivers on Sunday (via Twitter). That means that his claim period will expire tomorrow.
11:32am: The Phillies placed second baseman Chase Utley on revocable trade waivers on Saturday, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). That waiver period would expire today if Utley goes unclaimed, at which point he’d be eligible to be traded to any team. (For those who are unfamiliar with revocable waivers, MLBTR has already posted a more in-depth look at how August trades work.) Utley, of course, still has 10-and-5 rights and could veto any trade of which he does not approve.
The 36-year-old Utley was activated from the disabled list after a lengthy absence due to a sprained right ankle. He batted just .179/.257/.275 in 65 games before landing on the DL, though he’s given interested teams at least a flicker of reason for optimism; Utley has four hits (three doubles) in 10 plate appearances since being activated and also went 6-for-11 in a brief, three-game rehab assignment in the minors.
That minuscule sample size does little to mask the reasons that make it difficult to trade Utley. In addition to his dismal first-half production and no-trade protection, Utley is also an expensive asset. He’s earning $15MM this season, of which about $4.59MM remains. The Phillies would almost certainly have to include some form of cash considerations in order to facilitate a deal.
Utley’s injury may have helped the Phillies improve their chances of trading him in another way, though, as he’s still 241 plate appearances shy of triggering a $15MM vesting option for the 2016 season. With about two thirds of the season in the books, Utley would need to average 4.6 to 4.7 plate appearances per game to trigger the option — an unattainable rate even if he were to play every day.
Utley has been connected to a number of teams despite his struggles. The Giants are the most recent team that have been linked to him, but the Cubs, Angels, Dodgers and Yankees have also been tied to Utley in various media reports. He’s yet to firmly indicate that he would approve a trade, but he did recently say he would “definitely listen” to a proposed trade scenario if approached by the Phillies’ front office “out of respect” for the team.