Chase Utley has had an outstanding MLB career.
Now in his 16th Major League season, the 39-year-old second baseman has taken on a reserve role for the surging Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 57 games, Utley is hitting .231 with one home run and 14 RBIs over 147 plate appearances (as of Friday night).
He has seen his role decrease even more in the month of July. As of Friday night, he logged just 10 at-bats in 11 games, picking up two starts in that span.
Even though he’s technically signed through the end of next season, Utley is clearly approaching the end of what could be a Hall of Fame career.
On Friday, he called a press conference and made it official: he’s retiring at the end of the season.
His explanation for leaving
"I just want you guys to know that I've signed a five-year extension,'' Utley joked at the beginning, per ESPN.
The six-time All-Star selection cited family reasons for his decision.
"I'm also a part-time strength coach, a part-time pitching coach, occasionally a part-time catching coach, as well as a part-time general manager,'' Utley said. "But the thing I'm having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad. That's really the reason I'm shutting it down, because I'm ready to be a full-time dad.’'
Utley has two sons, aged three and six.
"They've asked me a few times, 'Dad, how much longer are you going to play? Why do you have to go to the field today?''' Utley added. "That conversation will come soon. I think it will be a good conversation.’'
Teammate Enrique Hernandez explained the impact Utley had on his life.
"He's changed the way I see the game, he's changed the way I eat, he's changed the way I prepare in the offseason from now on and the way I prepare during the season every day,'' Hernandez said. "From now on if I end up having a pretty successful career, whether he likes it or not, he's going to have had something to do with it.”
Manager Dave Roberts also shared some kind comments.
"Probably the most well-respected guy in our clubhouse, just the way he treats people, his career, how consistent he's been,'' Roberts said.
There will be a debate for Utley as far as the Hall of Fame is concerned.
After all, he’s one of just five second baseman in MLB history who has posted 400 career doubles and 250 home runs.
His 259 blasts rank seventh all-time among MLB second basemen.
While Utley has been involved in some contentious moments over the course of his career, he has also been a steady source of production, especially during his prime years with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Therefore, let the Hall of Fame debates begin.
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