Corey Seager had a locker next to Chase Utley for the duration of the 2016 season. As he raced toward the National League rookie-of-the-year award, Seager leaned on Utley, a 14-year veteran, for advice.
Utley helped Seager develop a daily routine, and teamed with him in the middle of the Dodgers infield.
But they might not be clubhouse neighbors again this year. The Dodgers appear set to move on from Utley as their regular second baseman. The team acquired Logan Forsythe from Tampa Bay earlier in the week, and plan to use him at second. The acquisition does not shut the door on a reunion with Utley, who is a free agent, but it does hurt the chances.
In discussing the Forsythe trade, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman heaped praise upon Utley, a left-handed hitter for a team in need of right-handed batters. Seager has kept in touch with Utley this winter, but acknowledged the reality.
"That hurts," Seager said at an event for the Dodgers community caravan at a mall in Canoga Park. "Chase helped me a lot. He really did. I can't thank him enough for what he did. Hopefully there's still a chance that he does come back. But I'm excited to meet Forsythe, and get to know him in spring training."
Seager said he was impressed with Forsythe when the Rays played the Dodgers last season.
"Hard-nosed, blue-collar, wasn't flashy, just got the job done," Seager said. "That's what we're looking to do this year. Hopefully he'll fit in nicely."
Grandal poised for repeat
No regular catcher hit more home runs in 2016 than Yasmani Grandal, who tied for the Dodgers' team lead with 27. And he did so in only 390 at-bats, a rate which surprised him when he studied his statistics during the off-season.
"At the end of the year, I looked back at what I did and I impressed myself," Grandal said. "I definitely set the bar high. I like the fact that I did that, because of the fact that it gave me more confidence, so I can set that bar even higher."
Grandal underwent shoulder surgery after the 2015 season, part of a lengthy cycle of injuries for him. He expressed his excitement about the prospect of taking on this off-season without any major physical hurdles to climb.
Dodgers sign Davis
The Dodgers signed first baseman Ike Davis to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training. Davis, 29, could be used as an insurance policy for veteran Adrian Gonzalez.
Davis appeared in only eight big league games last season. He posted a .756 on-base plus slugging percentage in triple A.