Chase Utley

Giants reportedly wanted Utley more than anyone else, but it sounds like he’s staying put

This is Ruben Amaro we’re talking about, so blindly believing what he says isn’t always the best course of action. But we can probably stop wondering whether Chase Utley will become a San Francisco Giant this season, based on several points we already knew, plus a few things brought up by Ken Rosenthal two days ago.

— Utley wants to play close to every day (duh, he’s trying to get one last contract).

— Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said they’d play Utley four times per week, and the team probably wouldn’t go back on its word and risk a public fight with a local icon.

— “The Giants want Utley perhaps more than any club, sources say. But Panik is expected to resume baseball activities next week and could return around Sept. 1.”

— According to two execs who talked to Rosenthal, Utley would prefer to join a contender in Southern California (so, the Dodgers or Angels).

— Utley grew up in Long Beach and went to UCLA. But he lives in Sausalito during the offseason. If it’s true that he’d prefer to play in the L.A. area, there might be some reason why he’d rather not play for the Giants, even if Joe Panik’s back injury knocks him out for the rest of the season.

— The Angels were close to a deal on Friday, but one source said they were “out” on Utley soon after.

— The Dodgers don’t really need Utley, since Howie Kendrick could return in two weeks and Kike Hernandez is a fairly decent hitter.

— Utley is really expensive (more than $6 million for less than two months of regular season play).

— The Phillies are probably asking for too much, given Utley’s popularity.

— Basically, Utley is only willing to leave Philadelphia for the perfect situation, and Utley is not a perfect fit for any team given his age, recent injury history and exorbitant cost.

As for the Giants, the worst part about this situation is that they want Utley so badly, and not because it appears that they won’t get him. The Giants have plenty of money, but they’re already into the luxury tax zone. Would they really be all that interested in spending over $6 million on a guy who’d replace Kelby Tomlinson and Ehire Adrianza for a couple weeks before serving as a lefty pinch-hitter off the bench?

If Rosenthal’s sources are on the money, one has to wonder if the Giants know internally that Panik probably won’t be ready by Sept. 1. He’s been dealing with back pain since late-July, and the injury was deemed “inflammation” after he had an MRI. Not to call the Giants liars, but there’s no reason for them to let us know if it’s something more serious (like a herniated disc that will require surgery during the offseason), especially if they’re speaking to other clubs about possibly acquiring a veteran second baseman.

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