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So, Let's Talk About Chase Utley And The Cubs

You asked for it, now you've got it.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you know my opinion on the possible acquisition of Chase Utley from the Phillies: Do. Not. Want.

However, I know some of you would like to see Utley in blue pinstripes, and it's certainly a thing to discuss, so I'm creating this article for discussion purposes and also to lay out in more detail why I feel the way I do.

If the Cubs were getting the World Series version of Utley, the player who had seasons of 9 bWAR (2008) and 8.2 bWAR (2009), of course I'd be excited. But this isn't who Utley is anymore. It's six years later, he's managed to play 150 or more games exactly once since then (2014), and he spent considerable time on the disabled list this year with ankle problems. I'm well aware that in a small sample size, he's been hot since his return from the DL -- 13-for-26 (.500) with five doubles and a home run. However, that only brings his season numbers "up" to .213/.282/.332 in 244 at-bats. It's a shame, because the Utley of six or seven years ago might have potentially put up Hall of Fame numbers if he hadn't been injured so often.

But he was. And that's a risk, even for a seven-week rental.

There are also reports that Utley wants "guaranteed" playing time in the event of a trade, not to mention how it would affect playing time for others already on the Cubs roster, as noted by David Haugh in the Tribune:

Sure, Utley offers experience the Cubs lack at second base, but the platoon of [Starlin] Castro and Chris Coghlan hardly screams shortcoming.

Castro, in the midst of a terrible year, still has value despite the occasional error — such as Friday when he had three hits or last week when he made an impossible catch in foul territory. Coghlan, who recently started playing second base against right-handers when Addison Russell replaced Castro at shortstop, provides the left-handed pop many find appealing about Utley. After a two-home run game Friday, Coghlan now has 13 in 329 at-bats — excellent power potential for his new position.

If Utley arrived, Coghlan still could play left field against righties, but that likely would mean benching either Kyle Schwarber or Miguel Montero, both left-handed bats the Cubs value. Not to mention how the addition of Utley might impact the opportunities infielder Javier Baez receives in September if the Cubs promote him in two weeks as expected.

The last sentence, I think, is the most important point. Baez, healthy again and hitting well at Triple-A Iowa (.296/.374/.513 with 11 home runs in 60 games) could be the answer at second base, at least some of the time, if the odd Castro/Coghlan platoon doesn't work. Baez would certainly be better defensively than either Castro or Coghlan.

Plus, why mess with success? The Cubs are 16-3 since the stunning sweep at the hands of the Phillies in late July. Sure, they're playing with some defensive liabilities, but they're winning. I'd be leery of making changes to a team that appears to have finally figured out how to win on a consistent basis.

Maybe you think differently. This is your place to talk about Chase Utley. Have at it.