Minutes after the Phillies traded the longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia, the man who inherited that title said farewell in the form of a written statement distributed by the Phillies. And, no, Chase Utley did not request to join Jimmy Rollins in Los Angeles.
"The Dodgers are very lucky to acquire a player like Jimmy," Utley said. "I've said it time and time again that Jimmy makes everyone around him better. The team will miss his leadership on the field and his infectious smile, but most of all, I will miss our pregame handshake."
Utley, like Rollins, holds full no-trade rights. Both players insisted on remaining in Philadelphia until Rollins steered a trade to Los Angeles. Do not expect a similar scenario for Utley, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
"The only discussions I've had with Chase and his agent about any of that is that Chase wants to be in Philadelphia," Amaro said. "And so, we work through our offseason knowing Chase Utley will be in Philadelphia and be a Philadelphia Phillie. I don't necessarily see that changing. Is it possible it changes? Maybe."
Amaro added: "He doesn't want to go anywhere. He has no desire to go anywhere. . . . He wants to honor his contract and that's how we have to perceive it."
Rollins offered some insight into Utley's thinking.
"You don't just get up and walk away from something you've built just because things aren't going great at that moment," Rollins said. "You just don't do that. I don't think anyone in that clubhouse is a quitter and just, 'You know what? I give up. I don't want to be here because we're not winning now.' We came from nothing pretty much and if you end at nothing, then oh well. But you keep on trying.
"And I think that's something we felt as core players, that we always had a chance. We become believers in ourselves, become believers in what the organization is trying to do once we showed them we were in position to win. The last few years it hasn't happened, but you always keep your eyes ahead and looking to better days."
That is Utley's task - for now - while Rollins chases one last ring with the Dodgers.