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Utley Ridiculous
2005-04-03 18:55
by Mike Carminati

Well, the Phils' have yet to open the season and they have already committed three errors in the last twenty-four hours. After demoting incumbent center fielder Marlon Byrd and his .390 spring average and moving the execrable Brett Myers to the number two spot in the rotation for balance (?), Charlie "I Need a Managerial" Manuel has decided to split time at second base between Placido Polanco and Chase Utley.

All three decisions affect young players, and of the three Myers is the one that I have the least confidence in especially after this spring and yet he is the one that gets the nod. Watching Utley and a couple of the young pitchers develop was about all I was looking forward to this season.

Polanco was the starting second baseman for most of last season but was seemed to be on his way out of Philly given he was a free agent and the end of the year. Not only did the Phils not trade him to shore up some of their holes last year, the brought him back ostensibly to sit on the bench this year.

Utley was supposed to be their second baseman of the future. He about half a season last year, he had 13 homers and 57 RBI. He was very streaky (especially when he was yanked in and out of the lineup and for a time moved to first) and ended up with less than stellar ratios. However, he is now 26, and if the Phils ever expect to get anything out of him, now's the time. There aren't that many second baseman that can offer 30 HR/100 RBI potential right now.

What does the troglodytic Manuel have to offer regarding the situation?

"I wish I could play both of them, but that's how it is," Manuel said. "I feel like I've got two regular second baseman and that's not all bad. I feel like it makes the team stronger. I know both of them want to play. It's up to us to work it out."

Sure, why not create controversy at as many positions as possible?

The reality is that the ever-fragile David Bell will probably miss at least half the season allowing Polanco to shift to third and leave second to Utley. But the decision is going to leave a bad taste in Utley's mouth for some time to come. I've got the juicy pre-taste of third place in my mouth right now.

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