During last night's Phillies game against the Brewers, while Chase Utley was old-man strength-ing his way to his first four-hit game in over two years, Jim Salisbury snuck in a good old-fashioned, town-and-country trade rumor. It was the most extensive list of potential destinations for Chase Utley among those that I've seen.
Before we dive into these all-important rankings, we have to pause and appreciate Jim Salisbury's employment of a pun in referring to other teams's attempts to acquire Utley as a chase. Get it? It's the Chase Utley chase. Chase is not only the first name of the player involved but it is also a real English language word that applies to what other teams are doing in relation to that player. Got it now? I'm happy to clear that up for you.
Salisbury lists six teams interested in acquiring the hottest second baseman in baseball (see what I did with a word that possesses multiple meanings?) and they vary significantly in terms of how much I would like to see Chase Utley play for them. That's what these rankings are, by the way. Talk about burying the lede. They are not rankings of how good these potential teams are at baseball or how likely I think it may be that Chase will accept a trade to them. No. These are rankings based entirely on how willing I am to tolerate Chase Utley playing for these teams.
One final note: because the Phillies were not mentioned in the tweet that serves as inspiration for this post, they are not fit for inclusion in these rankings. Were they to be included, speaking completely theoretically here, they would be ranked number one because I'm selfish.
6. San Francisco Giants--First off, they are the Giants, the team that featured Cody Ross in 2010 and stopped the Phillies from reaching their third consecutive World Series. The team that had Brian Wilson, not the musical genius from the Beach Boys but the annoyingly-bearded gimmick closer. Chase does not deserve to have his reputation sullied by association, however tangential, with those asshats. Then, there's the fact that this team isn't even going to make the playoffs. They're 4.5 games out of the Wild Card and 2.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. If Chase isn't going to be a Phillie, he at least better get a shot at playoff glory.
5. New York Yankees--They're the Yankees. That alone should be sufficient justification for this ranking, but their fans are still in a bit of a Jeter hangover, I suspect, and won't love him the way he deserves to be loved.
4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim--After the ugly Josh Hamilton fall-out earlier this season and the Jerry DiPoto fall-out more recently, I don't want Chase to have to be a part of that organization. Although they're more likely to make the playoffs than the Giants (listed above), the Angels are far from a sure thing to play postseason baseball; Fangraphs has their current playoff odds at 55.8%. They're only ranked this high because the teams below them are exceedingly odious.
3. Houston Astros--I get that it's good for Utley's Hall of Fame case to DH or play 1B and rack up some counting stats without the physical burden of playing an almost-premium defensive position. But, Chase Utley is the best second baseman I've seen play and I can't publicly endorse moving him off that position. He also would look weird in an Astros uniform, or, at least weirder than he would in these next two teams's uniforms.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers--The potential of reuniting the Utley/Rollins double play combination nearly vaulted the Dodger to the top spot in these extremely important rankings. However, I just can't get past the feeling that going to the Dodgers would be selling out in some way. They sort of fit in the Yankees category in this regard, but much less so because they're not the Yankees.
1. Chicago Cubs--This could be fun. It would be Chase Utley and a bunch of whippersnappers. With Starlin Castro struggling and falling out of favor in Chicago, there's an open spot at second for Utley with Addison Russell sliding over to short. The Cubs have been trotting out Chris Coghlan as their starting second baseman for the past week, which is fine if you're a AAA team, but not if you're trying to fulfill the premonitions of an over-hyped mid-80s movie. Chase Utley might just be what they need to survive the hardships of entering the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
That should settle it then, Chase Utley should go to the Cubs. Make it happen Rube! Or is it Andy? Pat? Whatever. Someone, just do it.