While I wouldn’t quite say the Chicago Cubs have a glut of second base talent, they do have a bit of a log-jam of competitors this Spring. With Darwin Barney the presumed starter, and Jeff Baker locked into a bench job, the Cubs already have two second baseman types on the roster even before they make a decision on Blake DeWitt and Adrian Cardenas. One of the two is expected to make the roster, and DeWitt looks to have the inside track.
Unless, that is, he’s traded.
Today, the Philadelphia Phillies sent second baseman Chase Utley to a specialist to take a look at his troublesome knee. Utley has been extremely quiet about the precise problem, but he has yet to make an appearance this Spring, and GM Ruben Amaro conceded that Utley’s rehab process has “hit a plateau.”
If the problems persist or require major surgery, the Phillies could try to fill Utley’s spot internally by turning to Freddy Galvis. But he’s just 22 and has shown very little in the Minor Leagues to date.
Instead, the Phillies may have to try and pick up a replacement via trade. Buster Olney talked to a rival talent evaluator who suggested that, among other names, the Phillies could go after Blake DeWitt from the Cubs.
DeWitt would make some sense as a short-term fill-in, as would, possibly, Cardenas. Even Baker or Barney could be worth a look if you’re the Phillies, though it’s not clear whether the Cubs would part with Barney (as a starter, his value isn’t particularly high, but I remain of the belief that he could be one of the more valuable bench players in baseball). The Cubs can afford to move one of those four, and not be that much worse for the wear.
With Joe Mather in the fold, it may actually be Baker who makes the most sense to move. With just one year left on his contract, and an ability to platoon with Utley should he return later in the year, Baker might make the most sense for the Phillies, too.
I should add: a move like this would not net the Cubs a particularly sexy prospect. Perhaps a low-level, high-upside type (but one with apparent flaws).