Chase Utley was one of many players this offseason — including Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner Rich Hill and Sergio Romo — to take less money to join or stay with the Dodgers, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register notes. The Dodgers already had players in Logan Forsythe and Turner who appear likely to take most of the at-bats at the positions Utley plays, but as Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman puts it, “You never say never with a guy like Chase,” who is well regarded in the clubhouse. Here’s more from the NL West.
- Righty Jeff Hoffman, outfielder Gerardo Parra and catcher Tom Murphy top the list of Rockies who have much to prove in Spring Training, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. Hoffman is slated to compete with German Marquez for the Rockies’ fifth starter job and could provide the team with a jolt of upside if he lives up to the billing that made him one of the keys to the Troy Tulowitzki trade. Parra is coming off an extremely poor 2016 season in which he batted just .253/.271/.399 despite playing half his games in Coors Field; he’ll need to prove himself in the second year of the three-year, $27.5MM contract he signed with the team last January. And Murphy needs to show he can call a good game behind the dish so that he can Tony Wolters can make the Rockies’ catcher position an asset despite that duo’s lack of experience.
- Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock is the game’s most underrated player, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs writes. The broken elbow Pollock suffered in Spring Training in 2016 cost him most of the season, and since then he’s been under the radar, making him again underrated, as he was prior to his brilliant 2015 campaign. When healthy, Pollock is as well-rounded as they come — he hits and runs the bases well and is a terrific defender in center field. And unlike someone like Michael Brantley, the injury that limited Pollock last season shouldn’t be a major concern going forward.