Ron Costello

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's amazing how similar Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins' career numbers are.

Take a look.

Chase: 236 HR; 925 RBI; .281 AVE; .364 OBP
J-Roll: 229 HR; 928 RBI; .265 AVE: .325 OBP

Rollins had more hits, 2422 to1647, but J-Roll played three years longer and didn't have the serious injuries Chase had.

They were both hugely popular in Philadelphia and were traded for marginal players in the twilight of their careers — although Darnell Sweeney in the Utley deal could make the Phillies roster next season.

They have one more thing in common: They could be in the Dodgers starting infield in the 2015 postseason. Utley could be at second or third.

As Dodgers, their current numbers are again strikingly similar.

Chase: 8 HR; 39 RBI; .211 AVE; .235 OBP
J-Roll:13 HR; 41 RBI; .226 AVE: .286 OBP

Less than so-so numbers but they play hard, are leaders, and have been in postseason pressure-type games. Taking the lyrics from a Toby Keith song, "I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was."

Indeed, once — they are as good if not better in one at-bat —  as any player in the league.

One at-bat at a time. Isn't that what describes baseball's postseason race to the World Series?

The Faithful will have the added pleasure of watching Utley and Rollins in October, and Odds Shark makes the Dodgers the NL favorite to reach the Series. They've had injuries, but Yasiel Puig's hamstring is 100 percent and their solid rotation are set for the NLDS.

The Dodgers face the Mets in the NLDS starting Friday, October 9.

I don't know about you, but I'll be watching every Dodger game that I can.

After the postseason?

Here's where things get interesting for Rollins and Utley. Both 37 by spring training, they are clearly no longer everyday players. Defensively they don't cover what younger players do and their offensive production is shady

Besides, they are huge injury liabilities.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was quoted in the Times this week, saying Utley could play another 2-3 years if he accepted a role as a pinch-hitter and spot starter. I think the same goes for J-Roll.

But verbalizing it is one thing, doing it is another. They are both free agents and could sign one-year contracts with a good team. And, they are both West Coast guys, meaning it's likely they could stay with the Dodgers or go to the Padres, Giants or Angels.

With baseball skills that aren't what they use to be, I think they will be a warm commodity next year, especially if they do well in the postseason.

It would be nice if one of them came back. But on the 2016 Phillies, a team that needs to play hungry young guys trying to stick with the Show, there would be little room for two aging stars. Besides, the Phillies have what Utley and Rollins could offer, and younger: Sweeney and Andres Blanco.

It's doubtful if either would consider the Phillies.

Even, "if they're good once, as they ever were."
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