Originally posted on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 3/29/13
Is 2013 the last time we’ll see Chase Utley in a Phillies uniform? Last week, I was having a discussion with an old friend about the upcoming Phillies season when he posed a question to me: Do you re-sign Chase Utley after 2013? “Ask me in six months,” was my concise, detached response. This type of exchange is not exclusive to my friend and me. All over the Delaware Valley, people are asking the very same question about Utley. Most Phillies fans have had the same uncertain response I did about whether to bring the long-time second baseman back. There’s still time to decide and no reason to rush it. But the common uncertainty surrounding Utley forces everyone to ask themselves the an uncomfortable question: Is 2013 the last time we’ll see Utley in red pinstripes? The thought causes a stir in me. It makes me reflect on the last decade watching Phillies baseball. A part of me feels like we, as a fanbase, took Utley for granted in his prime. It’s been stated ad nauseum just how good he was from 2005-2009 (the best second baseman, and arguably the best position player, in baseball). It’s of no fault of ours. Many times you don’t recognize how good things are until they’re gone. So when Utley began to decline suddenly in 2010, crippled by a chronic knee condition many of us had never heard of, we wondered how the glory days could have flown by so fast. After the 2009 season, when he posted a .905 OPS and hit five home runs in the World Series, Utley looked like he had at least five good years left in his future Hall of Fame career. How popular was Utley in Philadelphia at that time? I attended a game in 2009 with my uncle who is not much of a baseball fan. He’s an older guy known for his deadpan, no holds barred remarks. As we walked through Ashburn Alley to our seats, he turned to me and said, “Jesus Christ, doesn’t anybody own a jersey for someone besides this Utley guy?” I couldn’t help but laugh. But as I scanned the crowd, I noticed he was right–I couldn’t locate a single non-Utley jersey around us. The guy was royalty as far as this fanbase was concerned. Suddenly, like his future with the Phils, Utley’s Hall of Fame chances are in doubt. And while he’s been an above average player in his decline, he’s been about half the 7.0 to 8.0 fWAR player he was in his heyday. Still, even the player he is now will be viewed as a valuable commodity on the open market, especially with American League teams that can provide respite by DHing him occasionally. With about $105M already committed to just a handful of players in 2014, and with the cost-effective Freddy Galvis, who the organization seemingly loves, waiting in the wings, one has to wonder how likely it is the Phils can retain Utley’s services. So as the season gets set to kickoff, it’s important to cherish these moments with The Man. He’s been a key player for this team for a number of years, and an absolute joy to watch, even when he’s doing his version of scuffling. His hustle and his work ethic have been second to none. He, as much as any athlete I can remember watching, encompasses what Philadelphia looks for in its athletes–no flash, no guff, all business, all effort. As we move into the regular season, remind yourself, with the trade deadline in July, we’re only guaranteed three more months of this. Remind yourself of that the next time you hear Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” blare over the PA system at Citizens Bank Park. Remind yourself of just how much this player meant to the Phillies in their greatest era. Because after 2013, we may never have the pleasure of seeing him in play for our city again.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dallas Cowboys' team employee bus involved in fatal crash

Aldon Smith posts video under a pseudonym of a blunt on Periscope

WATCH: Cam Newton get blocked by a girl playing volleyball

Russia avoids complete ban from Rio Olympics by the IOC

Report: Padres trying to move Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Baseball's top prospect called up to majors by Astros

Report: Braves 'aggressively' shopping Francoeur, Aybar

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Cristiano Ronaldo spars with Conor McGregor in gym

Adam Silver is the new standard-bearer for league commisioners

Iowa football player held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go

Eight most significant injuries going into NFL training camp

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker