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Philadelphia Phillies: Carlos Alonso may replace Chase Utley

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Eventually is one of the key words that could be added to this feature's headline. But, yes, Reading Fightin Phils' second baseman Carlos Alonso may be the player who replaces Chase Utley at some point.

Alonso recently received a high-profile minor league award. The President of Minor League Baseball Pat O'Connor resurrected the Gold Glove for non-major league players three years ago. That specific award had not been given to minor leaguers in nearly four decades.

O'Connor doesn't honor nine positional players at each minor league level. Instead, he uses sophisticated SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) numbers to select nine total players (one at each position) as that season's Gold Glove recipients. That means Alonso is one of only nine men, among a group of more than 5,000, who were recognized.

Utley's surprising offensive spring surge currently places him among the Top 10 Major League hitters in OPS and batting average. It would be hard to argue that a better trade return could for his services could be found in future years. Yet, this humble author isn't suggesting that a gifted Double-A player is ready to assume number 26's iconic spot in Philadelphia.

Alonso was selected in the thirty-second round of the 2010 draft. He made his professional debut that season when he was 22-years-old. As long as this mature 26-year-old hits well enough to make progress, his glove work could give him a shot at Utley's slot.

Utley was selected in the first round of the 2000 draft. He made his major league debut in 2003, when he was 24-years-old.

'Ut' is clearly among the best second baseman to have ever worn red pinstripes. Trading him would be a watershed moment. Phillies' fans of all persuasions would storm Citizens Bank Park's gates if a deal is consummated, especially if the current general manager makes that choice, while their rightly-beloved star is still productive. So, dealing Utley is hardly a foregone conclusion.

At some point Ruben Amaro, Jr., or his successor, will dismantle the positional core (Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz) of the 2008 World Series' championship team. While Rollins' name has been ground through this season's rumor mill, other trades aren't impossible. And, whenever they're made, stopgap players will give way to presumed heir apparents.

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