It makes sense the Jays would be looking to fill the black hole that has been second base this season. Emilio Bonifacio has been a huge disappointment and although Maicer Izturis has been better after a horrific start, Utley’s power would most likely be a huge upgrade in production for the Jays over either player.
If we continue to play the way we play sporadically, then I’m going to have to consider being a seller.
Utley is scheduled to become a free agent this summer and is in the last year of a seven-year, $85 million deal. One important note is that the Jays would not be entitled to a compensation draft pick if he chooses not to resign as a team gets zero compensation when trading for a player midseason in the last year of his contract.
So does trading for Utley make sense for the Jays?
One concern is obviously his health. He played 152 game in 2009 before injuries began to take their toll as his games played has reduced each season since dropping to 115 games in 2010, 103 in 2011 and only 83 last year. He has already made a trip to the disabled list this year with a strained right oblique but has returned to a very nice power surge. He went 2 for 5 yesterday with his two hits being a double and a triple. In his 13 games since returning has a triple slash of .309/.377/.655, including four home runs and five doubles to go along with a 0.353 WPA.
I have to question what the Jays would have to give up to acquire Utley after the current development system was ransacked this offseason. So for that reason I think that a reasonable deal will be difficult to get done.
It sure would be nice if the Jays could find a way to add Utley to this lineup of sluggers. But I think the real focus of this summer’s trade deadline talks will revolve around bringing a starting pitcher to Toronto, which Olney also mentions is an area that Jays are looking to upgrade moving forward.