As the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, there was but one conclusion about second baseman Chase Utley: he is old and washed up. The type of injuries Utley endured — patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia in his knees — can’t be healed, only mitigated by rehabilitation and strategic rest as needed.
Since starting to play every day in 2005 up until his last full, healthy season in 2009, Utley posted an average 135 adjusted OPS (the average is 100) over 3,374 plate appearances. From 2010-12 while he battled injuries, he posted a 116 adjusted OPS over 1,327 plate appearances. He was still a great defender and baseball’s smartest base runner (he stole 38 bases in 41 attempts!), posting a combined 12.6 Wins Above Replacement over those three years, according to Baseball Reference.
Utley entered the 2013 season playing out what could have been and still may be his final year as a Phillie, the last of a seven-year, $85 million contract extension signed in January 2007. The expectations weren’t very high: as long as he stayed healthy for the most part, hit a bit above the league average, and continued playing slightly above-average defense, the Phillies wouldn’t need to worry about second base at all, at least for this one year.