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Utley at third base? Just look at Ryan Zimmerman
by Scott Butler 9/27/12

Chase Utley can be quite the awkward bastard on tosses to first base. His throwing motion is so strange that I will never be fully convinced that Utley isn't a natural lefty. If he can't throw to second base, who would be stupid enough to put him at third base? I'll answer that question with another question: have you seen Ryan Zimmerman?

It's hard not to notice the parachutes Ryan Zimmerman sends from third base. It is a strange side-arm, nearly underhand motion you might use if you were ordered to safely throw an egg onto a pillow from 127 feet. It is almost embarrassing to watch a professional athlete soft tossing pop-ups from third. If that is what he does with routine grounders, just imagine the disaster on anything not hit directly at him.

Herein lies an intriguing peculiarity and a reason to possibly see Chase Utley manning the hot corner someday: Zimmerman has no problem on the bang-bang plays. Watch him charge a dribbler or range to his left for a ball in the hole and you can see why he owns a 2009 Gold Glove. Time is the issue with Zimmerman, and the less he has the better he is. Which brings us to the only reason we would give two craps, which is how it applies to Chase Utley.

Maybe Zimmerman suffers from a similar syndrome as Chase. It certainly would explain why Utley double and triple pumps before releasing two-foot throws. He just has too much damn time. As long as Utley does not have time to think and can rely on instinct he seems to have no issues.

But...it is a long throw from third base and balls come a lot quicker at than they do at second base. Just because Polanco made a seamless transition to third does not mean the same will be true for Utley. Don't forget that Polanco has two Gold Gloves at second.

But as Jim Carrey said in Dumb and Dumber, "so you're telling me there's a chance." If Utley was somehow competent at third, it would open up a spot for Galvis at second, allow Frandsen to be a utility guy, and maybe save Utley's knees from potential disaster.

So, next time you guffaw at Zimmerman, just think, that could be Chase Utley.

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