The Indians opened up the 2016 season with Jose Ramirez assuming the role of the utility man. He quickly burst out of that role, taking over the starting third base role and becoming one of the better young players in all of baseball.
In 2017, Utley could assume that utility role and hold the post all season. Compared to Michael Martinez or Erik Gonzalez, Utley would be an upgrade. Once again, having that veteran presence in the utility role helps if Utley is called upon for a late-game at-bat. Or perhaps, an at-bat in the bottom of the tenth inning in Game 7 of the World Series.
There is a fear among some fans that Utley could take time away from other starters, but this is just illogical. If anything, Utley could allow guys like Jason Kipnis and Jose Ramirez to get some rest during the regular season. These guys are capable of playing over 150 games, but if they can get some rest in preparation for the postseason, it should be given to them.
If Utley agreed to a utility role, the rest of the infield could get more rest during the regular season and not be exhausted in October. And if the Indians want to make it back to the postseason, they will need to be healthy all season. Giving players some rest is a great way to avoid any major injuries, and also prevents players needing to play through minor injuries.