Sabermetrics don’t measure everything and everyone’s ‘gut feel‘ isn’t strong enough to predict the future of anything with complete accuracy. That statement sets the tone as the Philadelphia Phillies welcome Chase Utley back tonight for their home game against the New York Mets.
Yes, ‘Ut’ is no longer the major force he used to be in his younger days. But, he still has a strong influence on the franchise at this point in his career.
This 34-year-old is currently playing in his eleventh baseball year, which might also prove to be his last Phillies’ fling. While it might seem blasphemous for some to consider, the very real possibility of number 26 being dealt by, or before, the July 31 trade deadline exists.
After a promising spring, with no chronic knee issues revisited, Utley strained oblique sent him to the disabled list on May 21. Considering the three-season decline in games-played, starting in 2010, this veteran second baseman surely wanted to remain healthy this year in order to play his way into a Philadelphia contract extension.
His on-field influence can’t be fully measured by any digital method. The impact he’s had on this franchise outside the base lines also can’t be defined through emotional overtones.
Mix physical tools with a dash of gusto and a double-shot of game-smarts and this California native was born. But, players like Utley only appear under the diamond sky every so often.
He isn’t replaceable, as every hardcore Phillies’ fan knows. Most of the still-adoring crowd is hoping that more years can be added to his current deal.
With whatever comes to pass this summer, Utley, the franchise and the fans will always be able to feel those 2008 World Series’ cheers and remember every great moment that can’t be found within any number from 2003 on out.