Chase Utley

Aoki leaves game, adding another potential reason to trade for Utley

As I’m writing this, the Giants are down 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh because Colby Rasmus hit a home run to right in the top of the inning. Clearly the offense hasn’t done much today against Scott Feldman, a mediocre pitcher who’s on his fourth team in four years.

You know where I’m going with this after reading from the headline, so here’s some tweets that should drive the point home.

Jon Morosi’s first tweet was enlightening. His second tweet was comical at the time. Belt, in left field? What about Norichika Aoki, who’s totally OK? Aoki can’t play center, and now that Angel Pagan has mercifully been placed on the DL, the Giants need him to bat leadoff.

Now that Aoki’s status is up in the air (the Giants reported later that he was feeling lightheaded), one has to wonder if the Giants’ urgency increases in regard to Chase Utley. We already heard before today’s game that Joe Panik would not be ready to return once his 15 days are up. As someone with a terrible back, I can only imagine the pain he’s been dealing with. Back pain can also mean pain shooting down your legs, pain which radiates in and around your knees and down to your feet. It’s awful, and anything can make it flare up. Pick up a pitcher of water incorrectly, and several days are instantly ruined.

If the worst fears come true with Aoki, and he’s suffering delayed effects from a concussion like Brandon Belt did last year, then the offense starts looking a lot weaker than it did a month ago. There’s no way the Giants want to a starting outfield of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco and Justin Maxwell (or Juan Perez) every day.

Now, there are a couple of caveats here. First, Utley can’t possibly match Ehire Adrianza as a defensive second baseman. The guy just came back from a chronic ankle injury, and he’s 36. Second, we can’t be certain that Utley would even be an offensive upgrade, and he’ll cost a minimum of $7 million over the next couple months (unless the Giants’ prospects sweeten the deal and the Phillies agree to pay some of his salary).

Utley was awful all season, then he missed a month and a half. He started yesterday and went 2-for-4, bringing him to 7-for-17 (.429) since returning to the active roster on Aug. 7. He isn’t playing today, which makes sense if the Phillies are serious about dealing him. With the Giants probably worried about what they’ll do without Panik for an extended period, and now with Aoki’s ability in question, it seems fairly likely that Morosi’s rumor will turn into reality in the form of a trade.

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BochyRafflePicREMINDER: Today is Bruce and Kim Bochy pizza party day!

Bruce and “special guests” will stop by Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria on King Street after today’s game, and 100% of the proceeds from sales at both San Francisco Amici’s locations will go to SF Homeless Prenatal Program. The Bochys and a lot of us (myself included) will make the trek to Amici’s on Lombard to cap off the evening.

I’ve been mentioning the raffle all week, but in case you missed it, you still have a chance to donate in the form of purchasing raffle tickets (again, all proceeds to SF HPP), with a lot of cool Giants memorabilia, food and wine items, and tickets available. That includes the National League All-Star team autographed ball in the photo. There are 50+ chances to win in all, but you need to either buy raffle tickets online or at either Amici’s location today by 10 pm. Good luck!

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