Chase Utley, Third Base, Maybe?
Ruben Amaro is open to the idea.
That's what he told the media Tuesday, when Amaro shared what Chase Utley brought up a few days ago in a talk about the here and now and beyond, when "obviously third base came up."
They talked about an idea.
"He asked me, 'Can I play third base?' And I said, 'Can you?' And he said, 'I don't know, can I?'"
Which seems a pretty appropriate anecdote for the seriousness of the consideration. It's definitely a possibility; Utley started taking ground balls today.
But it seems more an option than a plan.
"No idea," he said when asked how realistic the possibility was.
"But it's worth exploring if (Chase) is willing to do it."
Chase said he is.
"I figured I'd give it a try," Utley said. "I thought it could be an option for future. Again, it's way too early to have an opinion either way on how it goes. But if I think if I'm able to play over there, it creates more flexibility as far as the organization is concerned."
Especially if Amaro doesn't like his current options at the position, which, per what he said (and didn't) Tuesday, he may not.
Placido Polanco has the best career fielding percentage all-time among third baseman, but a $5.5 million 2013 team option and creaky back that's cost him 46 games the last two seasons.
He didn't get mention when Rube talked out "The Plan."
Nor did Kevin Frandsen, who's currently working a .337 average and .801 OPS in 27 games in Polanco's stead, which, according to Charlie Manuel yesterday -- he said Polanco could play if needed, and pinch hit him that night -- isn't anymore.
Amaro did delve into the market for free agent third baseman.
"There is no market," he said.
But is this an answer? After all, the organization invested quite a bit in Utley's ability to play second base for the majority of this season, which didn't exactly pan out.
Granted, they had what they believed to be a serviceable contingency in Freddy Galvis.
But Galvis broke his back (literally, it was a pars fracture), and was eventually tagged 50 games for PED use. The status of his back, the timing and purpose and effect of the PEDs, what will be left of his game on both fronts -- all up in the air.
It wasn't mentioned, but Galvis' health and ability are an unspoken prerequisite here, especially since the market for 2013 free agent second baseman is ankle-deep, too. Even if it might be better on Utley's knees, something Amaro suggested and Utley said didn't matter, a gaping hole is better placed on the corner of the infield than up the middle.
Then again, this is all just a musing, an exploration of every possibility available.
"He's just taking ground balls on time (at third) in 10 years," he said when asked whether Utley might get some time there this season, gleaning quite a bit about what's going on here.
What is going on here seems to be an openness, and that's refreshing. Creativity at the top is never a bad thing. So long as it translates into results.
Can Utley at third?
Utley does have some experience there. It was 10 years ago, at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and it resulted in 28 errors in 123 games, a clip that makes Ty Wigginton look appealing.
"I played there probably 10 years ago and it went so-so," Utley said.
"Chase is one of those guys who, if he puts his mind to it," a thought he didn't finish. "Who knows how it's going to play out or if it's going to play out, but it's not the worst option to have."
So long as it's one of many.