It's official: the Phillies have traded six-time all-star Chase Utley to the Dodgers for minor league infielder/outfielder Darnell Sweeney and pitcher John Richy. Sweeney, 24, was the Dodgers' 12th round pick in the 2012 draft. At triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he's batted .271/.332/.409 with 9 homers and 32 steals, splitting time between second and third base and the outfield. Richy, 23, was LA's third-round pick in last year's draft and has put up a 10-5 record with a 4.20 ERA in 124.1 innings at high-A Rancho Cucamonga this season.
Of course, the return isn't really the point. From a coldly rational perspective, an almost-ready utility guy and an inventory arm with fifth starter upside seems more than acceptable for a 36 year old free agent to be, in a year when he's put up numbers way below his career averages and missed extensive time with injuries.
Yet it's still likely that Utley in the next couple months will deliver more value to the Dodgers than Sweeney and Richy, being non-elite prospects, ever will for the Phillies… and in a way, that would be fine. I'm never rooting against Chase Utley, and neither are you. I want him to hit .500 with 15 homers for the rest of the season, keep raking through the playoffs, and get a second World Series ring… with Jimmy Rollins matching him blow for blow.
Utley is LA's through the end of their season. But he's a Phillie forever.