Should the Angels Acquire Chase Utley?

Updated: August 16, 2015

Recent reports have come out saying the Angels have heavy interest in Philadelphia Phillies second baseman, Chase Utley. The Phillies had recently put him on waivers, and Utley went unclaimed, meaning they are able to trade him to any team. Utley is currently owed roughly six million in 2015, as well as a club option ranging between 5 and 11 million for 2016, since his vesting option of 500 plate appearance will not be reached. His contract also gives him a full-trade clause, meaning he has full control of the teams he would agree to play for.

Utley has stated a willingness to receive solid playing time, and that would heavily dictate his decision on what team he would agree to waive his no trade clause for. The teams interested so far, are the Angels, Cubs, Astros and the Giants.  The Angels do not seem like a obvious fit given the solid play of Johnny Giavotella at second base, who has slashed .273/.321/.680 this season in his first year as a starter. However, the Angels could use Utley at DH/1B against right handers, thus giving him regular playing time. The Angels do not posses roster flexibility, so it would be interesting to see who is sent down or released to make room for Utley, if they acquire him. Utility infielder, Taylor Featherston is a rule five pick, and cannot be sent down without being offered back to the Cubs. Other options would be optioning C.J Cron to Triple-A until September 1st when rosters expand, or decide to release either David DeJesus or Shane Victorino, to create a roster spot.

Now the question remains, just how much will Chase Utley help the Angels and at what cost. The cost would likely be a mid-tier prospect or less depending on how much money the Angels are willing to take on. Utley is hitting just .213 with a .282 on-base percentage, to along with five home runs and 30 RBI’s in just 72 games this season. He was placed on the disabled list on June 24th due to ankle inflammation, stemming from an off-season injury, dating back to January. He has since returned on August 7th, and has hit .500 or 13 for 26, with one home run and five RBI’s in seven games. He seems to be pain free and healthy, and has fixed a flaw in his swing, as per Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs.

Ultimately, the Angels need help offensively, as they rank in the bottom five in runs scored since the July 31st non waiver trade deadline. They have scored 41 runs in 14 games to start August, good for just 2.92 runs per game. The lack of offense has hindered them, as the Angels are 5-9 to start the month, falling 2.5 games behind the Astros, and now just a half game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the second wild card spot. No Utley is not the missing piece that will ignite the Angels offense, but I do believe at the right price the Angels should give this consideration and pull the trigger on this deal. This team is free falling and needs a shot in the arm if they hope to keep playing baseball when October comes around.

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