SportsPulse: MLB insider Bob Nightengale discusses the MLB All-Star rosters and points out one glaring snub.
Los Angeles Dodgers veteran second baseman Chase Utley, a six-time All-Star and potential Hall of Famer, announced Friday that he is retiring at the end of the 2018 season.
Utley formally made his retirement announcement at a press conference at Dodger Stadium before Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.
“It is a difficult decision, but it’s one that I’m comfortable with,” Utley said. “I can go into the last chapter of my baseball career with enthusiasm, excitement, but most of all a clear mind.”
Utley, 39, plans to play out the rest of this season, but he will not return in 2019, the second year of a two-year, $2 million contract. The Dodgers currently sit in first place in the National League West.
A career .276 hitter with 259 major-league home runs and 1,880 hits over 16 seasons, Ultey is known for his quiet demeanor yet big clubhouse presence. He was hit by a pitch 201 times — eighth-most all-time. His accolades include four Silver Sluggers, and he finished in the top five of the NL MVP voting three times.
Utley reached the World Series three times, ultimately winning the 2008 title with the Philadelphia Phillies. His seven career World Series home runs are the most for a second baseman, and he shares the single-series postseason record of five home runs with Reggie Jackson and George Springer.
In 13 seasons with the Phillies, he was at his peak from 2005-10 as a core member of the team that reached back-to-back World Series and won in 2008.
In 2015, he was traded to the Dodgers. Playing a key role off the bench, he reached the World Series again in 2017. Ultey returned to the Dodgers with a two-year deal in the offseason. He has been limited off the bench this season, missing time on the disabled list with a sprained thumb. In 130 plate appearances, he’s been an effective backup, hitting .231 with one homer and 10 extra-base hits.
Rarefield air: Pujols ties Griffey on career HR list
Home Run Derby field: Bryce Harper headlines slugging showcase
MLB All-Star Game: Eight biggest roster snubs
Utley will perhaps be best remembered for the “Chase Utley Rule” — an MLB rule protecting infielders from aggressive slides enacted before the 2016 season after his controversial slide in the 2015 National League Division Series. In Game 2, Utley slid hard and late, past the second-base bag and into the New York Mets’ Ruben Tejada in a clear attempt to break up a double play, ultimately breaking Tejada’s leg in the process.
His Hall of Fame credentials will be discussed in exhaustion over the next several years. He finishes his career with a 65.6 wins above replacement — 13th-best among second baseman and a tick better than Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, who had a 65.5 WAR.