The Giants, Yankees and Cubs — three potential Chase Utley suitors — all had scouts in attendance at last night’s Phillies game, reports CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. According to Salisbury, that’s the fourth straight game in which the Giants have kept tabs on Utley, who was in the game at first base as a possible means of showcasing him to trade partners. He also lists the Dodgers as a potential trade partner in the wake of Howie Kendrick’s injury, although L.A. has called up top prospect Jose Peraza for the time being. Salisbury also notes that Utley has been hitting leadoff since returning to the lineup, possibly as a means to maximize his plate appearances in front of interested scouts.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- The Miami Herald’s Greg Cote urges the Marlins to end the Dan Jennings experiment in the dugout and allow the former GM to return to the front office role for which he is better suited. Cote opines that if the goal is to bring in an experienced manager to command respect in the clubhouse and signal a commitment to winning — as others have written — then the Marlins should act now rather than wait until the offseason, when other teams are offering competition for such types. If the Marlins are to hire someone like Ron Gardenhire or Bud Black, doing so now would allow the new manager time to assess his team and what he feels is needed this winter while also affording Jennings more time to prepare for the offseason alongside president of baseball ops Michael Hill.
- The Mets opted to keep Michael Conforto on the 25-man roster upon Michael Cuddyer’s return from the DL (Eric Campbell was instead optioned to Triple-A), and as ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin writes, GM Sandy Alderson foreshadowed that decision to some extent in stressing the team’s current win-at-all-costs mentality. “Our mindset is we want the best 25 players we can put on the field,” said Alderson prior to the official announcement of the Conforto/Campbell decision. “Issues of development, etc., are secondary to whether anybody can help us now. That’s all relative based on who’s doing what and comparisons among players.”
- GammonsDaily.com’s David Golebiewski breaks down the reasons for Doug Fister’s ill-timed and rapid decline. As Golebiweski notes, Fister’s gone from one of the game’s most underrated starting pitchers to a long reliever in short order and isn’t likely to receive another chance to start this season unless the Nationals incur an injury in the rotation. The timing couldn’t be worse, of course, as he’s now a few short months from free agency. Fister’s robust ground-ball rate has fallen below the league average, he’s throwing significantly slower and getting crushed up in the zone as a result of it, and his command of his secondary pitches has deteriorated, Golebiewski points out.