As mentioned in the opening, Michael Brantley remains the one question mark for the Indians heading into the 2017 season.
Signing Utley gives the Indians another talented player on the 25-man roster in case Brantley isn’t ready to go. And if he is, Utley can still serve as a talent off the bench.
Given the deal is financially smart for the Indians, signing Utley almost makes too much sense. If a player needs to miss time due to an injury, the Indians would already have a veteran ready to step in, instead of having to find a free agent or rush a prospect into major league action.
Utley’s presence not only helps if Brantley is out, but rather if any player is out. He has predominantly been a second baseman for most of his career, but a player with his experience could certainly be tried out at other positions in the field.
Signing Utley still remains a bit of a longshot right now, but Indians fans should be excited about the opportunity. He provides extra depth for a team looking to return to the World Series, along with a veteran voice in a clubhouse that lost its leader.
He would not be taking any playing time away from any of the established starters, yet would still help when certain guys need some rest in the midst of those mid-summer road trips.