More Dodgers: Viva Puig
It is unknown whether the Dodgers have actually reached out to the Phillies about their All-Star second baseman, who grew up in the Los Angeles area, but he certainly impressed during Philadelphia's four-game series at Chavez Ravine last week. A week removed from coming off the disabled list, the veteran infielder rapped out eights in seventeen at-bats against the Dodgers -- including three home runs.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told CBS Sports' Danny Knobler earlier this week that he views Utley as "a Phillie for life," so the Dodgers' chances of acquiring him probably aren't great, but stranger things have happened. Utley is in the final year of his seven-year contract with the Phillies, and is owed about half of his $15 million salary for the season. He certainly fits LA's recent modus operandi of signing high-priced, somewhat older talent, and the club could use help on the infield in light of Mark Ellis' injury woes and Juan Uribe's more general struggles at the hot corner.
Ellis, 36, has battled through quad and groin strains this season and his numbers at the plate have suffered as a result. The veteran second baseman is hitting just .259/.305/.346 in 206 plate appearances on the year, and has watched his usually decent walk rate plummet to well below league average.
The 34-year-old Utley, on the other hand, is putting up his best power numbers since 2009 -- the last time he managed to stay healthy for an entire season. Utley is batting .284/.348/.517 with 11 home runs in 54 games, equaling his long-ball output from 2011 and 2012 (in 49 and 29 fewer games, respectively). And though trunk issues sidelined him for a month, the veteran infielder seems to have put his chronic knee problems behind him, which is a good sign going forward.
Should wooing Utley not work out, the Dodgers could look to acquire another veteran infielder, Michael Young, from the Phillies. LA has shown interest in Young in the past, and the Phillies are said to be more open to dealing him because he doesn't have as much history with the club.
The Utley rumors are just the latest trade talk to involve the Dodgers, who have been busy early on in the deadline trading game. The club was rumored to be on the verge of acquiring Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco late last week -- though nothing has come of it -- and was in hot pursuit of a deal for Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol on Monday.