I'm not a very nostalgic or sentimental person by nature. I don't tend to get weepy about the past, I have a hard time getting emotional when someone I know passes away, and I rarely keep anything lying around my house that doesn't hold utility in my everyday life.
But there are exceptions. I cry at every movie, TV show or commercial in which a father and son have a real, genuine, emotional moment. I get weepy when my kids say something too cute or loving or precious. I keep old baseball cards, even though they take up space and are largely completely worthless, unless you have a strange fascination with the 1988 Donruss set.
When it came to the Phillies firesale this year, I didn't really feel anything when the team traded Jimmy Rollins. I thought I would feel a lot more when Cole Hamels was dealt, but I didn't. And frankly, before Chase Utley signed his extension with the team during the 2013 season, I was fully in favor of trading him then. I saw it as the best opportunity to get something valuable for a player who was entering his declining years.
But the Phils didn't do that. They re-signed Utley to a series of one-year deals that, because of an injury this year, puts him in the final year of his contract. And that was fine too. After all, we got to see more Chase Utley, which isn't a bad thing.
However, it appears as though the Phillies are getting ready to deal the 36-year-old second baseman to some team (the Angels appeared to be the front-runners as of this writing), as he continues to be scorching hot coming off the disabled list, 13-for-28 with a home run and four doubles.
And now, all of a sudden, I'm struck with a feeling that has hit me as clear as day.
I don't want the Phillies to trade Chase Utley.
There are a two big reasons for this. First, the Phils aren't going to get anything of significance back for him. We're looking at, what, a Single-A pitcher who projects to be a reliever? Or a fourth or fifth outfielder in some team's low minors?
And second, this is Utley's final season with the Phils, and yet it came upon us all so fast that there hasn't been an opportunity for anyone to say a proper goodbye. I think we would all feel pretty cheated if the team dealt Utley while they were on the road and Phillies fans didn't get a chance to spend the next month and a half paying tribute to one of the greatest players to ever play in Philadelphia.
Of course, if the Phillies are doing this to please Utley, at his request, so that he can play for a contender and get a shot at another ring, then I guess my resisting a trade would be selfish. Honestly, Utley has given the Phils everything they could have wanted and more during his career, and if he wants to leave, they owe it to him to try and make it happen. Even if they don't get much back.
But if Chase is still reluctant to leave, I'm hoping the Phils don't break their backs trying to make something happen. I'm not sold on Cesar Hernandez as this team's second baseman moving forward, so I see no rush to shove Chase out the door in order to get more playing time for Hernandez. And I find more value in enjoying Utley's final six weeks with the team than in getting some C-level prospect in return.
For whatever reason, I'm not ready to say goodbye to Chase, and there is no compelling reason to do so, unless it's what he wants.
So please Phillies, don't trade him unless he's dying to get out of town. He, and we, deserve our long goodbye.