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Have We Seen The Last Great Chase Utley Season?

With word of Chase Utley's injury getting worse by the day you have to ask whether his days as a superstar are over. When people in your own organization start voicing their concerns publicly it's never a good sign and it leads me to believe the injury may be more serious than is led on. From the look of things Utley is questionable for opening day meaning it's time to question his future as a major fantasy contributor.

As a five category stud for so many years you want to believe he's going to keep it up forever. But age and injuries take a toll on production and middle infielders tend to age quickly. At 33 Roberto Alomar was 4th in MVP voting and 2 years later he was barely above replacement level and soon out of the game. Chase Utley turned 32 over the winter and is being slowed by injuries already. Double digit steals look like a thing of the past with the knee problems and it may affect his hits, doubles, and runs totals as well. He should be capable of hitting 25 HR over 600 at bats but the chances of him hitting that mark this year seems like a long shot. You could be looking at 20 HR .270 AVG and 75 RBI out of him this year. He is supremely talented so he could have a fine season but he will need to stay on the field for that to happen.

If you're not overly worried about the injury effecting him too much then now is the perfect time to buy low on him. Many owners are scrambling to trade him before his stock plummets and you may be able to snatch star level production at a discount but it seems unlikely he will earn what you have to give up to get him.

The real tragedy here is that if this truly is the beginning of the end it may mean Cooperstown will not induct a player who may have put together the greatest 5 year stretch from a second baseman in history. I would like to see Chase return to form but with each cortisone injection that looks less likely. If he falls to the 100th pick then sure take a chance on him but odds are he will be long gone by then and on his way to disappointing an owner who was expecting the Utley of old.