By Sam Bush
We all knew this day had to come.
And, even though Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., said just a day or so ago that it was unlikely:
The Phillies have traded Chase Utley, their legendary second baseman who captured the respect and love of Philly fans for more than a decade, to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Utley, whose 13-year career with the Phillies included five All-Star appearances and the club’s first World Series championship since 1980, had to agree to a trade to the Dodgers.
The Phillies will receive a pair of mid-level prospects — Class AAA outfielder Darnell Sweeney and Class A right-hander John Rich — from the Dodgers, who will also receive $2 million to help offset the remainder of the $15 million Utley is paid this season.
MLB.com first reported that the Dodgers and Phillies were nearing a deal involving Utley.
Utley approved the trade to his native Southern California and had the right to veto any deal because he’s spent more than 10 years with the Phillies. He will provide an immediate option at second base while incumbent Howie Kendrick recovers from a left hamstring injury. Utley will also reunite with shortstop Jimmy Rollins, his double-play partner for 11 seasons before the Phillies traded Rollins to the Dodgers last December.
The trade leaves only first baseman Ryan Howard and catcher Carlos Ruiz from the core that won consecutive National League pennants in 2008-2009.
Utley, who can be a free agent after this season, is batting a career-low .217. Last month, 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels was dealt to the Texas Rangers.