The End of the Chase Utley Era in Philadelphia
"As you can imagine this announcement is not an easy one for the organization," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro stated while sitting besides Utley. "Chase is a iconic organizational player, but this is the best thing for Chase and Phillies."
The day started out as normal as possible for Utley, he kept his normal routine, he did everything he normally does on a daily basis - but this day was different, this day was his final day as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
"The whole day went pretty fast, except for the past hour or so," Utley admitted. "I dont think its set in yet that I wont be around here the rest of the year."
(Listen to former Phillies Broadcaster Chris Wheeler discuss Chase Utley)
The 36-year-old is hitting .217 with five home runs and 30 RBIs on the year but has performed better at the plate since returning from the disabled list. Utley, who will be reunited with former Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins who was sent to Los Angeles during the offseason, acknowledged that the time was right to leave Philadelphia.
"Three weeks ago I had a convo with Ruben, we decided it might be best to part ways," Utley said during his final news conference in front of the Philly media. ""Its not so much changing uniforms, its about leaving the city that's given me so much since I've been here."
Utley was drafted in 2000 at of UCLA and quickly came through the system and almost instantly became a fan favorite. He finished his Phillies career hitting .285 with 228 home runs and 886 RBIs.
"This city has meant a lot to me," Utley explained. "Coming up being drafted by Phillies in 2000, I feel pretty fortunate to be a part of this organization."
In return, the Phillies get Sweeny who MLB.com ranked 13th among Dodgers farmhands. The 24-year-old has played mostly center field this season but has experience at both middle infield positions. He’s batting .271 with nine home runs, 49 RBIs and 32 stolen bases this season at the Triple-A level.
Overall, he's a .280 lifetime hitter in four minor league season, but the Phillies have called him up to play in Philadelphia, taking Utley's place on the roster.
Richy is 10-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 124 1/3 innings with High-A Rancho Cucamonga this season. The former third-round projects as a back end of the rotation type of pitcher.
Utley will now have a shot to get back to the playoffs, that along with growing up in that area and playing his college ball there all made LA an attractive destination.
"I have talked to Jimmy (Rollins)," Utley admitted. "He's pretty excited, as am I."
Harry Kalas said "Chase Utley, you are the man."
It's something that stuck with him since 2008, but it feels like its something that could have been said since he got to Philadelphia.
"The slogan will follow me all over the place," Utley acknowledged.
The fans of LA are about to find out why.
"Winning the World Series in 2008, the way the city reacted to that team," Utley described about his memories of playing with the Phillies. "But the hardest part is leaving the city of Philadelphia"
Thank you Chase, thank you.