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

Rams owner buys massive 520,000-acre Texas ranch

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

George Karl’s agent rips Kings, wants broadcaster reprimanded

WATCH: Popovich has funny reaction to New Hampshire results

Suns vets pull packing peanut prank on rookie Devin Booker

Teammate gives Manning final completion ball from Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss Football cited in 13 of 28 department violations by NCAA

Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

The NCAAB power rankings

SEC begins crying foul over Jim Harbaugh’s spring break plans at Michigan

Marc Gasol reportedly out indefinitely with broken foot

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

WATCH: Blackhawks coach walks out of press conference

Greg McElroy: Cam Newton 'quit on his team'

Tennis umpires secretly banned over gambling issues

WATCH: Dancing Kentucky fan slides down rail, fails

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Former Aggies QB Kyle Allen reveals culture problems at Texas A&M

Roy Williams collapses during game vs. BC

Panthers TE Greg Olsen shaves off his playoff beard

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

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

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

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