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Levine: If Not Chase Utley, Cubs Need A Player Like Him

By Bruce Levine--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The waiver wire is a tough place to get a player through after Aug. 1, as major league waivers and outright waivers collide when teams start to press for that one veteran player. When it comes to the Chicago Cubs, the addition that still would make sense is Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.

Utley, 36, cleared waivers recently, which means he can be dealt to any club that wants to make the right bid for him. He has 10-and-5 rights. That means with 10 years in the big leagues and five with the same team, he can veto any deal.

Utley has had an injury-plagued season, managing to play in only 70 games, hitting .196 with four homers and 28 RBIs. Now healthy after some leg problems, finding out whether he will accept a trade is the $5 million question. That's how much Utley is owed for the last part of his $15-million contract for 2015. He had a $15-million option for next season that would have kicked in with 500 at-bats, but he won't reach that threshold because of his injuries.

Utley's a  good teammate, sources said, but is generally quiet and likes to be involved with game preparation and not much else on a daily basis. The consensus is that he would fit in with any serious contender at this point.

Other reports have the San Francisco Giants negotiating a deal with Utley and the Phillies. As for the Cubs, the caution flag is always raised when it comes to adding a player late in the season. What occurs after you sit or send down someone who has already helped you become a contender can implode team chemistry.

"When you have a team that is playing well like this one, you have to pay attention to the team dynamic," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "We also must look ahead and decide what we may need in September. I think a big part of it is how the team will look the rest of the way."

The Cubs are experimenting with outfielder Chris Coghlan and former starting shortstop Starlin Castro at second base for now. Improvement and adding a left-handed bat with RBI potential should still be a priority.

"Like I said, we have been active," Hoyer said. "We will continue to be active. We have 17 more days where we can actually do something."

Rosters are frozen on Sept. 1. Any new additions made after that date aren't available for postseason activity.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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