In a move that will surprise no-one, Panthers GM Phil Doyle announced to the assembled press his 25 man squad for the imminent season and the omission and subsequent release of 2B Chase Utley.
Utley was one of the few to remain from the previous regime. Awarded a monster $98m, 5 year, free agency contract was always likely to be a burden in its later years, but unfortunately Utley failed to live up to the deal in the early years either. A career OPS+ of 99 would highlight that Utley failed to perform to his contract and it was well known around the league that GM Doyle would have accepted a bag of balls in exchange for the 40 year old.
Utley is now a free agent and is considering his options for the future – there is not much call for a league average, poor fielding 40 year old. Portland have absorbed his salary and so Utley can afford to retire a happy man.
When contacted Utley said while he understood the decision to leave him out, he wanted to thank the fans in Portland, Boston and Altoona who had been great to him over the past 5 years. He said he was mulling over a few offers to enter the broadcast booth and was interested in staying in the game in some capacity. He hadn’t ruled out playing again if someone made him an offer, but admitted it was unlikely.
Portland will fill his spot at 2B with a combination of Matt Carpenter and Mookie Betts.