With the injury to Chase Utley, a hole is left in the Phillies infield. How the Phillies will fill this hole is still unknown. In fact, the significance of Utley's injury is not yet known either.
Wilson Valdez, who filled in for the injured Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins last season, can be a quick fix for the Phillies. Valdez did a great job filling in for these two key players and did a great job as a bench player as well, hitting .258 over the entire 2010 season.
Valdez is also a great fielder. Last season, he only committed two errors and assisted on 35 double plays.
However, if Utley's injury is severe, it is likely the Phillies will try to sign an infielder. With the tight budget and lack of prospects, Ruben Amaro has already stated no trade will be made for an infielder.
Who else is available for the Phillies to play second base? Michael Martinez, the rule 5 draft pick from the Nationals, could play some games at second. He is a utility player who can play both outfield and infield. But, like Valdez, if Utley's injury is serious, Martinez is a long term fix. Martinez will be a great bench player, but cannot play everyday.
So who can fill in for Chase Utley everyday?
With the Mets releasing Luis Castillo, there may be an answer to that question. Castillo has failed to fulfill expectations with the Mets, but still is a talent the Phillies could use with he absence of Utley. Castillo is a good fielder, only committing two errors last season and assisting on 38 double plays. He also still has above average speed, stealing eight bases and only being caught three times.
Most importantly, he'd be seeing good pitches hitting at the bottom of a Phillies lineup with Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino all hitting ahead of him. Castillo can be a great asset to the Phillies until Utley returns and also can be a great bench player later in the season. Look to see the Phillies sign Castillo in the near future.