Sources: Angels weighing pursuit of Utley
KANSAS CITY -- Veteran second baseman Chase Utley went 4-for-5 at Miller Park on Friday night, and the Angels were well-attended, with at least two scouts monitoring his continued progress off the disabled list.
The Angels have been keeping tabs on Utley for a while, and now they're exploring the possibility of adding him via trade.
Utley, now 11-for-22 since coming off the DL, has cleared waivers, allowing the Phillies to negotiate with any club on a trade. But Utley can also veto trades by virtue of his 10-and-5 rights -- 10 years in the Major Leagues, five consecutive years with the same team -- and the 36-year-old would only waive it if assured playing time.
Utley is eligible for free agency at season's end, owed roughly $4 million the rest of the year plus the $2 million to buy out his option. The Phillies would be willing to eat some of that money for the right return, and sources told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that they have multiple offers on the table.
The Cubs, Giants and Angels are believed to be Utley's top three choices, a source told Zolecki, but the Astros, Dodgers and Yankees are also in the mix.
Interest aside, Utley's presence would require some roster tinkering by the Angels.
Johnny Giavotella, the starting second baseman all season, entered Friday with a solid .271/.320/.359 slash line overall, though he does have his limitations defensively. But Utley, a left-handed hitter, can platoon with the right-handed-hitting Giavotella and may also be able to play some first base, a position he's spent some time at since recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out six weeks.
With platoons in left field and designated hitter, the Angels don't have much position-player flexibility on the roster, so C.J. Cron -- the right-handed half of a time share at DH -- would probably have to be optioned to Triple-A.
A product of Southern California, Utley made five consecutive All-Star teams from 2006-10, while establishing himself as arguably the best second baseman in the game. He batted .270/.339/.407 in 155 games last season, while making his sixth All-Star team, but he got off to a slow start in 2015, then missed significant time.
Utley's slash line is .208/.276/.313, but he's been hot of late.