Depending on who you ask, the Philadelphia Phillies may have had interest in Chase Utley as Gabe Kapler’s bench coach last offseason. Ultimately, Utley elected to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 16th season of his career and the Phillies tabbed Rob Thomson – who had 10 years of experience on Joe Girardi’s coaching staff with the New York Yankees – to be their next bench coach. Things probably worked out best for all parties involved.
But when Utley retires at the conclusion of the 2018 season, would he have interest in coaching?
The 39-year-old spoke to MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki prior to his final regular season trip to Citizens Bank Park, and said he doesn’t see coaching in his future:
MLB.com: Do you think you’d ever coach?
Utley: I would say no at this point just because coaching takes up so much time. Over the past six years, I’ve missed out a lot of time with my boys, so I want the opportunity to hang with them a little more.
Utley didn’t sound as opposed to coaching when asked about the possibility in his pregame press conference Monday. He did note that while he wants to remain involved in the sport, he doesn’t think coaching will be the most likely avenue, but that “you never know.” He was non-committal when asked about the possibility of being a guest instructor for Spring Training as well.
The six-time All-Star told the collective media when he announced that he would retire at the end of the season that he was retiring to be a “full-time dad.” Utley has two young sons, Ben and Max, so it’s understandable that the second he retires, he doesn’t want to continue traveling the country for a bulk of the year. If that was the case, he’s under contract for 2019 and probably would just try to keep playing. Even in an era where young managers have become the norm – Gabe Kapler is only three years older than Utley – it just might not be in the cards for Utley. At least not for a while.
Of Utley’s notable 2008 teammates, just one is a coach: Matt Stairs. After a brief media career, Stairs took over as the Phillies hitting coach in 2017. After Pete Mackanin’s staff wasn’t retained for the 2018 season, Stairs joined Andy Green’s staff in San Diego in the same role. Utley’s good friend Pat Burrell is a special assignment scout for the San Francisco Giants. Brad Lidge has been a guest instructor in Spring Training, as have some of Utley’s former teammates who weren’t on the 2008 championship team: the late Roy Halladay, Aaron Rowand and Bobby Abreu. I would opine that if any player on the 2008 team has a future in coaching, it’s probably Carlos Ruiz.
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