I had written an article not too long ago about the Nationals moving Zimmerman to first base and bringing Rendon up to play third base. Many felt that Rendon would be better suited to move to second base ending the Espinosa era. I still feel that Rendon at second base is a waste of a great arm, and feel there is another answer for our Espinosa problem.
Chase Utley will be a Free Agent in 2014 and with the Phillies not being the team they thought they would be this year, off loading free agents to teams in need this season would make sure they get great value for their aging players. And with the Phillies having such a great young talent in Freddy Galvis, I really see no need for the them to hang onto Utley past this year.
Utley would bring much to a team like the Nationals, who have been having woes in the hitting area. And the Nationals have been in need of someone to solidify their second base position for years now. Many will say that we should just bring in Lombardozzi to play second base day-to-day, but the upside of Lombardozzi is not much more then just keeping Espinosa in the lineup. And Espinosa being a switch hitter can also make it harder for teams to make late game pitching changes.
Chase Ultey would make the Nationals lineup a force in the NL. Just think about this lineup: Span, Werth, Harper, Zimmerman, LaRoche, Utley, Desmond, Ramos or Suzuki. You are now giving protection to everyone in the lineup and we all know in the NL with no DH being able to turn the lineup over is something that can be very difficult to do. In this line up you have HR and extra base power through it all.
This trade however would not be cheap for the Nationals. They would have to give up Espinosa or Lombardozzi guaranteed, but they would also be looking at having to give away a young prospect. I feel the Phillies would be looking for pitching to sure up the bottom half of their starting rotation. A.J. Cole would be a good fit for them. And the Nationals have proved they are willing to deal young pitchers, this could be a deal that would work for both teams.
Now getting a trade done like this within the same division would be very difficult. I feel that Philadelphia would have to be out of the playoff hunt before the trade deadline and be really struggling on the pitching front. Also, the Nationals will not be the only team looking to upgrade their second baseman. The Orioles come to mind with the future of Brian Roberts up in the air due to injury. This is really all speculation, but as a fan I would love to see a trade like this go through while the Nationals are in the hunt for the playoffs.