Ruben Amaro is Entertaining This Whole Chase Utley Playing Third Thing

image from mobilwi.typepad.comPhoto courtesy St. Pete Beach Photo

Oh, so this might actually be happening.

Last week, interwebers went crazy when news broke that Chase Utley was taking grounders at third base. He did it again on Tuesday. Other than some quotes from infield coach Sam Perlozzo, though, no one from the Phillies talked about how plausible it would be for Utley to be the Phillies’ future third baseman. He played 123 games there in AAA in 2002, and had the lowest fielding percentage of his professional career– .918 (next lowest is .970). But today, in an exclusive interview with CSN’s Jim Salisbury, Ruben Amaro was surprisingly candid. And probably smug.

Will your 2013 third baseman come from outside the organization?
Unless we feel Chase is a viable possibility there, and we’re exploring it.
What do you have to see before you think he could be a viable possibility? Don’t you have to see him in a game or two before this season is over, or send him to Instructional League?
Maybe. That’s really up to Chase. I don’t think we would send him to Instructional League. A lot of it depends on how he continues to progress as he takes ground balls, how he feels, and how comfortable or uncomfortable he is.

Is it possible he comes to you, say on Sept. 21, and says, “Let’s give it a try?”
Very possible. And I may go to him and say the same thing. Of course, I don’t want to put Chase, and I don’t think it’s fair to him – we don’t want to have people put in positions to fail. We want to put people in positions to succeed. That should be our business.

And succeed?
I do believe so. If he’s committed and feels comfortable doing it, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt based on his athleticism and makeup.
If he could do it …
It would be excellent. But I can’t sit here today and say he’s going to be our third baseman next year. That’s not fair to Chase.


The fact that Ruben even approached that possibility is fairly astonishing. It makes it less of a pipe dream and more of an option. Not sure it’s going to work, though. Chase’s strength as a fielder has always been his range and ability to make somewhat spectacular plays when given an extra bounce to track down a ball. But his arm strength has always been below average, and then there was that whole 2009 NLCS throwing accuracy thing. 

It would be asking a lot of a guy to switch positions at this point in his career. Chase is a slightly different specimen, however, and probably has enough will power to not be terrible playing third. But would it work in the long-term? I asked Chase for his thoughts. He just shrugged…

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19 Responses

  1. I guess the guy who is currently playing 3rd and hitting well over .300 just isn’t good enough?

  2. sweet now we can have freddy and his .225 avg, 8th in the lineup instead of fransden and his .300 plus batting 2nd.
    thanks rube! WTF

  3. Andy, Polly is old as fuck. I think the idea is, with Chase fielding third, there will be less stress on his knees than at second base.

  4. “That guy’…. Andy wasn’t referring to Polanco. He was referring to Kevin Frandsen. Who is doing an excellent job both at 3rd and at the plate. Why fix what’s not broken?

  5. I agree it’s a pointless idea, but let’s all cool it with the Kevin Frandsen as a starter love. The guy’s done a really nice job and deserves credit, but 30-year old career .243 hitters are capable of having strong 6-week stretches….they don’t last.

  6. it’s not like there’s not a book on frandsen. he’s hitting the ball well. if he can do that for a whole season? that remains to be seen… i guess we’ll see. i agree that sliding utley to third may prolong his stay in the NL before he has to be a DH. i dunno. i wish i could get paid millions to be all like, “hey chase, feel like playing third today? cool.”

  7. Don’t get me wrong, Frandsen’s a nice story and has done well, but anyone who thinks he’s the long term solution at third is delusional. All you have to do is think back to that botched grounder in Atlanta Sunday night to realize he’s not going to make anyone forget Mike Schmidt, Scott Rolen or even Charlie Hayes. And once NL pitchers get that book on Frandsen, he won’t be surprising anyone at the plate either.

  8. Great move by the Phil’s putting chase at 3rd base. Solves a boat load of problems for the 2013 season!!

  9. I would make a joke about Kyle giving himself a hummer with that puppet but that would be inappriopriate and immature. Also very cliche for this comment board.

  10. one error does not negate all of the fantastic field plays fransden’s made thus far.
    jury’s still out on his average, but he’s certainly showed more than Galvis did hitting wise. So unless Ruben is planning on getting a new 2nd baseman from outside the organization…. id rather go with Fransden over Galvis, from what we’ve seen from both of them…. or maybe just play Fransden at 2nd if they’re so worried about Chase’s knees and think that playing 3rd will make the difference somehow.

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