Dodgers: Is Chase Utley’s Replacement Already in the Dodger System?

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LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15: Chase Utley
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15: Chase Utley /
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Chase Utley is a baseball legend. However, his competition to return next year is already stiff, and the Dodger’s have hardly signed anyone yet.

The Silver Fox, The Man, Chase Utley. The So-Cal native has put together quite the career. 258 bombs, multiple World Series appearances, and a ring to top it all off. He’ll go down as one of the greatest second basemen of all time. His time with the Dodgers, however, could very well be over.

His postseason play figured to be one of his more significant values to the team. However, he has failed to collect a postseason hit since the 2016 NLDS. Players figure to again clamor for his return, but at this stage in Utley’s career, the Dodgers should be looking for an upgrade. The team may already have one ready to go in the organization.

Jose Miguel Fernandez hit .306/.367/.496 with 16 homers in his first year as a Dodger Minor Leaguer. The 29-year-old from Cuba spends most of his time at second base, though he has dabbled at third and first base. However, he’s been mostly known for his bat. He was named the Texas League Player of the Week at one point in June. He also hit close to .320 against right-handed pitching last year between AA and AAA, which is vital.

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Logan Forsythe figures to be patrolling second base on most days and rightfully so. He proved to be one of the team’s best playoff performers all through October, outperforming many of LA’s stars in the World Series. Even far from healthy for a good chunk of the season, Logan was fairly superb at second or third defensively. I’m pegging him as a major bounce back player offensively, certainly in his contract year.

However, he did get exposed against right-handed pitching for a majority of the regular season. Forsythe hit just .190 against right-handed pitching last year. Expect to see Jose Fernandez get a fair shot at some point next season against righties, especially if Forsythe continues to struggle mightily against them.

Then there’s Charlie Culberson, who made the harrowing journey from the minor leagues to the National League Championship series look like a stroll to the supermarket. He came up clutch, just as he did in Vin Scully’s final home game. Charlie proved to be a sure-handed, valuable playoff performer while Corey Seager was unexpectedly out with a bad back. This man flat out deserves to be on the roster next year. And let’s not forget about Kike Hernandez either.

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With Willie Calhoun in the Ranger’s organization and the Silver Fox getting more SIlver by the minute, the road has been paved for Jose Miguel Fernandez to make an appearance at some point next season. At close to 30, he’s far from being LA’s next “can’t miss prospect.” The Cuban native doesn’t figure to play every day, certainly not on a team as stacked as the Dodgers. However, Fernandez seems to be adept at hitting righties, something the Dodgers could use at second base. LA certainly appears ready to add a left-handed hitting utility infielder should Utley depart. Perhaps they won’t have to look far.

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