Last week, Chase Utley sat in the dugout at Miller Park and was asked a rather simple question:
"Eleven months ago, this team wasn't playing well and you wanted to stay here anyway, re-signing with the Phillies rather than testing free agency in a few short months," the reporter started. "You wanted to stick around. Has your stance changed?"
"No," Utley said. "That's still the case."
Not surprisingly, Utley's stance hasn't changed in the last week, either. Although he will be asked the questions multiple times and presented with every hypothetical scenario that can be drummed up by nosy reporters, Chase Utley plans to be in a Phillies uniform before and after Major League Baseball's trade deadline arrives on July 31.
"If I was a betting man, I'd say there probably will be no change," Utley said Tuesday afternoon in Minneapolis.
Are you a betting man, Chase?
While those quotes can (and let's face it, will) be interpreted however the reader likes, Utley wants to stay in Philadelphia just as much as closer Jonathan Papelbon wants out. You can tell in the way they answer the questions as much as in the answers to the actual questions.
But, here's a bit more from Utley on Tuesday, during the mandatory media session for All-Stars.
Q: Would there ever be a situation where you'd go to the team and say it might be time to explore a trade?
Utley: I guess there's a possibility for anything. At this point, I really like playing in Philadelphia.
Q: If the Phillies went into a rebuilding process, is that something you’d want to be around for?
Utley: I’ve talked about it. Last year before we signed I was told we were going to continue to try to contend. I feel like we’ve done that this year, we’re not playing as well as we should. I guess we’re going to have to see how the cards are dealt.
Q: What's your take on Papelbon's comments about it being mind-boggling that someone would want to stay with a losing team?
Utley: Everybody wants to win. That's the main goal in this sport. I think there’s still a possibility we can win in Philadelphia.
Q: If team doesn’t do anything, would you be OK? Or do you want to see some kind of change before the deadline?
Utley: I personally want to win as many games as possible. So however the front office feels is the best way to go about it, I’m OK with that. The goal is to win and try to improve. If that's adding young guys, if that's keeping old guys. To me, it doesn’t matter.
Q: If Ruben does come to you in next 2 weeks, says organization might be better with package of guys Team X is offering for you, you’d be open to talk?
Utley: I haven’t ever envisioned leaving Philadelphia, honestly. I feel like I’m wanted in Philly. I feel like the fans appreciate the way I play. I feel like the front office appreciates the way I play. And I appreciate their support over the years. I don’t plan on going anywhere, but, again, if someone comes up to me and says you’re no longer wanted in Philly, then I’ll have to change my tune.
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