Utley does not envision leaving the Phillies

Posted: July 16, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS - Chase Utley sat in the dugout at Miller Park in Milwaukee last week before pregame batting practice and was asked a rather simple question:

"Eleven months ago, this team wasn't playing well and you wanted to stay here anyway, re-signing with the Phillies rather than testing free agency in a few short months," the reporter started. "You wanted to stick around. Has your stance changed?"

"No," Utley said. "That's still the case."

Not surprisingly, Utley's stance hasn't changed in the last week, either. Utley said he plans to be in a Phillies uniform before and after major league baseball's trade deadline arrives on July 31.

"If I was a betting man, I'd say there probably will be no change," Utley said yesterday afternoon in Minneapolis.

Are you a betting man, Chase?

"Not really."

The Phillies entered the All-Star break in last place in the National League East, with a double-digit deficit in the division. They have an older roster. They're in need of some kind of change.

Utley is unlikely to be a part of that change, no matter how many hypothetical scenarios are presented to him from inquiring minds in the 2 weeks before the trade deadline.

"I haven't ever envisioned leaving Philadelphia, honestly," Utley said during the All-Star media session in Minneapolis. "I feel like I'm wanted in Philly. I feel like the fans appreciate the way I play. I feel like the front office appreciates the way I play. And I appreciate their support over the years. I don't plan on going anywhere, but, again, if someone comes up to me and says you're no longer wanted in Philly, then I'll have to change my tune."

When asked whether he'd ever go to the Phillies and request to move on, Utley said that anything was possible, but also that he "really likes playing in Philadelphia."

And he doesn't expect he'll have to be sticking through a lengthy rebuilding process, since he was assured of as much before he re-signed last August.

As for closer Jonathan Papelbon's comments last week, that it's "mind-boggling" for a player to want to stay on a losing team?

"Everybody wants to win," Utley said. "That's the main goal in this sport. I think there's still a possibility we can win in Philadelphia."

Utley isn't making the trades, of course. But he has faith in the front office, something he also said last week in Milwaukee. Also, as a veteran ballplayer with at least 10 years of service, 5 with the same team, he has a full no-trade clause.

"However the front office feels is the best way to go about it, I'm OK with that," Utley said. "The goal is to win and try to improve. If that's adding young guys, if that's keeping old guys. To me, it doesn't matter."

Utley, who is in the first year of a 2-year, $27 million deal, which includes vesting options for three additional seasons, has seen teammates come and go. He's spoken to them.

And no matter how many more times he's asked, Utley wants to stay in Philadelphia.

"I've talked to guys who have played for the Phillies and gone on to other organizations and the grass isn't always greener on the other side," he said. "You know, I've picked some brains the last few years. I really enjoy Philadelphia. I love playing baseball in Citizens Bank Park. I love playing in front of the Philly fans. There's no better place to play, in my opinion. Obviously, winning is important, and I would like to do that in Philadelphia."


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

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