Texas Rangers rumors: Chase Utley, who spent the 2016 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is still a free agent, and T.R. Sullivan mentions him as a possible fit for the Rangers in 2017. Sullivan praises Utley as a “veteran leader who would fit in well in the clubhouse,” and notes Utley could play first, second or third base.
The Utley suggestion is made in the context of the Rangers taking a chance on a once-great player who is now available for cheap, and Sullivan mentions a whole host of possibilities in that regard, including Jered Weaver, Ryan Howard, Joe Nathan and C.J. Wilson.
Utley put up a .252/.319/.396 slash line in 565 plate appearances for the Dodgers in 2016, and though he just turned 38, he would seemingly prefer to be somewhere that he could play regularly. And yes, he’s a lefty bat that can play first, second and third...but the incumbent second baseman is also a lefthanded hitter, and Adrian Beltre is at third base and misses little time.
Sullivan may be floating Utley as a possible part of a first base platoon with Mike Napoli (who still hasn’t signed, though it seems like that is still a strong possibility), but Jurickson Profar is presumably slated to get those at bats. In fact, Utley’s role — a lefty bat who can play first, second and third -- would seem to be the same role Profar would have in 2017. Which leads one to wonder if there’s something else going on below the surface, something maybe involving the departure of Profar, prompting Sullivan to mention Utley.
Who knows. That could just be a name that Sullivan is throwing out there, something he’s just spitballing about. Or it could be something more. We shall have to see...