CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians have filled their two biggest needs, a right-handed slugger and a second left-handed reliever, with two of their top targets in free-agency this offseason, but Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports believes Cleveland might still tweak their roster a bit before next week’s start of Spring Training.
Heyman reports that the Indians — a team that already shocked many by landing Edwin Encarnacion and Boone Logan this winter — are ‘intrigued’ by free agent second baseman Chase Utley.
Here is more from Heyman:
The Cleveland Indians, who have already made some surprising moves this winter, are said to be intrigued by free agent second baseman Chase Utley, though there would appear to be some impediments to a deal.
Utley is a beloved veteran presence who’s widely admired for his intensity and preparation, and the Indians are among teams looking at him to see if something could work. This is far from a logical fit, as the Indians have a star left-handed-hitting second baseman in Jason Kipnis, but the Indians could still consider Utley for a possible utility role, if he’s interested.
Utley, 38, slashed .252/.319/.396 (97 wRC+) with 14 homers, 79 runs scored and 52 RBI in 138 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016.
However, the veteran left-handed hitter has only ever played two positions other than second base in his MLB career, first base (230 1/3 innings) and third base (27 innings), so projecting how he would fit in a utility role is difficult.
And it is even more difficult to envision Utley taking many at-bats away from Kipnis, who slugged a career-high 23 homers last season for Cleveland.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports other teams are in the mix for Utley.
With the big-time additions of Encarnacion (three years, $60 million plus option) and Logan (one-year, $5.5 million plus option), the Indians’ payroll will eclipse the $120-million mark for the first time in franchise history.