The fact that Chase Utley has not yet returned has got to be worrisome for fantasy owners, but there finally appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Todd Zolecki (click here for the article) of mlb.com recently posted the following quote from Utley:
“over the next week or so I’ll be on the field trying to get more ground balls and making some progressions in that area and just trying to get my feet under me as a far as a baseball standpoint goes. I was doing some baseball things in Arizona, but there’s nothing like being with the team and on the field on a daily basis.”
There is a chance that he could be back on the field by the end of May, assuming he goes on a rehab assignment soon (Zolecki tweeted that he could go out as soon as this week). Is he going to be the player that he once was? Absolutely not, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have any value.
Obviously he’s going to need to be monitored closely. Will his knee allow him to steal bases (it was an issue in 2011, yet he still stole 14 bases in 398 AB)? Will his knee help to zap his power? Time will tell.
The thing is, how many potentially better options are there for a team in need of 2B or MI? In one of my leagues (run through ESPN) the top middle infielders available include:
- Tyler Pastornicky
- Jeff Keppinger
- Orlando Hudson
- Freddy Galvis
- Ryan Roberts
- Ryan Raburn
In other words, there’s not much there. If I had the ability to get my hands on Utley on the cheap, I wouldn’t hesitate. Still, while there’s risk, there is way too much reward to ignore.