Jon Heyman hears from people not with the Phillies or Dodgers that the Dodgers could be interested in Chase Utley. It's about as loose a connection as one can make, but it's not like he made it up, so let's address it...
Obviously, L.A. is in win-now mode. The Dodgers currently have 36-year-old Mark Ellis manning second base, and he's having a pretty terrible year, hitting .258/.303/.342. The fit does make sense, with Utley being a West Coast guy and the Dodgers having the money to extend him.
An NL executive recently told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that he expects the Dodgers to, rather than pursue Robinson Cano, offer Utley something like three years, $45 million this winter.
That would put the Phillies in quite a predicament. A healthy Utley is probably worth $15 million per year, even in his age 34-36 seasons, but he's missed 214 games since the start of 2010.
Remember last year when fans and analaysts pondered whether the Phillies could trade Cole Hamels for prospects and then re-sign him in the winter? It was an idea that sounded good in theory, but in practice it would have made re-signing the lefty more difficult. Once you get a taste of another place, things change. It easily could have happened to Hamels in Texas or L.A.
It's the same with Utley, especially in relation to the Dodgers. If he's traded there by the deadline -- and really, it's hard to believe that would happen because the Dodgers don't have much in the way of prospects and Ruben Amaro has stated he sees Utley as a "Phillie for life" -- you just get the feeling L.A. would go all out to re-sign him.
The Athletics are another team to watch in Utley trade talks. They need a second baseman and Utley is exactly the type of veteran Billy Beane covets -- solid all around, good defender, excellent plate discipline, can play first or second.
The reasons teams will be after Utley are the same reasons it'd be so tough to see him dealt. He's the one guy you'd hate to see go, no matter if the Phillies lose every game through July 31. You can say that about Cliff Lee, too, but obviously the only way Lee would be traded is if the return was enormous, at which point justifications could be made.
But Utley, a half-year rental, wouldn't bring back a ton, and unless the Phillies are blown away they're likely more inclined to keep him. They should be able to recoup enough talent in other trades that dealing Utley isn't a necessity.