Are the Blue Jays chasing Utley?

Chase Utley sitting beside his bestest friend in the world. - Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Coming into the 2013 season, it was predicted by many analysts that the Blue Jays were weak at second base, despite having both Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio fighting for the position. Now that we're half way through the season, it seems that it was one of the few predictions about the club that came true. Both Izturis and Bonifacio started off horribly both at the plate and in the field, but while has turned his bat and glove around, Bonifacio has not shown the same improvements. And the Blue Jays still have had the least offensive impact from second basemen in the league, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith.

This morning, in an Insider Only article over at ESPN.com, Buster Onley wrote that Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays are "said to be considering possible upgrades at second base and with their starting pitching." One possible target, Onley writes, is the Philadelphia Phillies' second baseman Chase Utley. who sports a .282/.349/.521 line so far in an injury-shortened season; however, since his return from the DL on June 21 (strained right oblique), Utley been hot, batting .309/.377/.655. He also is fantastic with his glove. Despite missing over 30 games this season, he is still leading the Phillies at 2.3 fWAR. The Phillies, who are in third place and 8.5 games behind the Braves with a 41-45 record, are possibly looking to sell at the deadline.

Utley is 34 and in his last year of a seven-year $85-million contract that is paying him $15 million this season. Injuries have derailed what could've been a great career--Utley has only played more than 150 games three times in his career, and 2010 was the last time he got 500 plate appearances. Utley will be the second best free agent on the market this offseason (or the best if Robinson Cano signs an extension with the Yankees).

It is hard for me to see why the Blue Jays, who themselves are in last place with a 41-44 record, would try to acquire an expiring contract in the middle of this season, especially since they won't be compensated with a draft pick should Utley walk at the end of the season. Even though Utley would be a huge upgrade at second base, he won't be much help if the Blue Jays' continue to roll out their current starting rotation. With the Dodgers rumoured to be in the Utley sweepstakes (and Amaro Jr. saying that he wants Utley to remain a Phillie for the rest of his career), it is hard for me to see him wearing a Blue Jays uniform this season (or in 2014 for that matter). The Blue Jays have better places to spend their resources than an upgrade to an oft-injured second baseman, even if he is Chase Utley.

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