BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Los Angeles Dodgers are open to the idea of re-signing former Phillies star Chase Utley to be a part of their infield, their general manager, Farhan Zaidi, said Wednesday.
"We were happy with his performance and what he brought to our clubhouse," Zaidi said at the general managers meetings. "We are sort of evaluating a few different options at second base and in the infield. He's certainly a part of that conversation."
Utley, who will turn 37 next month, batted only .202 with a .654 on-base plus slugging percentage over 124 at-bats with the Dodgers after the Phillies traded him on Aug. 19. Last week, as expected, the Dodgers declined Utley's $15 million club option for 2016, making him a free agent.
Howie Kendrick started over Utley at second base down in the stretch and in the Dodgers' five postseason games, but Kendrick also is expected to become a free agent, presuming he rejects the team's qualifying offer.
Utley is probably best suited for an American League club at this stage of his career but could provide the Dodgers depth at second base, first base and, if need be, third base, where he made three starts for them in September and October. Super utility man Enrique Hernandez and prospect Jose Peraza are the best second-base options on the Dodgers' 40-man roster.
Prospects in camp?
The Phillies have yet to decide which of their prospects will garner non-roster invitations to major-league spring training, but fans should expect several.
"I think as a general rule, if you're that close, and there's a reasonable expectation of being in the big leagues [that season], that's probably someone you should at least consider bringing to camp," new Phillies GM Matt Klentak said.
Catcher Jorge Alfaro will automatically begin spring training in big-league camp because he is on the team's 40-man roster. Centerfielder Roman Quinn is among the minor-leaguers who need to be added to the 40-man roster by Nov. 20 to avoid exposure to December's Rule 5 draft, so he, too, should be there.
Given that each could start in triple-A Lehigh Valley next season, it would be a surprise if shortstop J.P. Crawford, catcher Andrew Knapp, outfielder Nick Williams, righthanders Jake Thompson and Zach Eflin and lefthander Tom Windle were not in big-league camp to begin spring training.
In another Utley-related topic, Major League Baseball chief baseball officer Joe Torre said that new rules regarding potentially dangerous takeout slides at second base would be discussed in a rules committee meeting later Wednesday and again at the winter meetings next month in Nashville. . . . Torre said games averaged 2 hours, 56 minutes this season, six minutes quicker than the previous year, after the changes to speed up the pace of play were implemented in the spring.