The Los Angeles Dodgers (67-53), clinging to a two-game lead over the Giants (65-54) in the NL West, have reportedly acquired Chase Utley from the Phillies in exchange for two prospects.

Utley hit just .179 in his first 65 games this season but has been on fire since returning from the disabled list Aug. 7. He is hitting .484 with five doubles in his last eight games.

With the trade, Utley, 36, will be paired up the middle once more with Jimmy Rollins, also 36. With Cole Hamels getting traded to Texas before the deadline, Ryan Howard, 35, is the main holdover from the Phillies’ 2008 World Series team.

My, how the mighty have fallen.

That year, 2008, was obviously a wonderful season for Philadelphia, but the franchise rewarded many of its top players with fat contracts. Now? Now the ship has plummeted to the bottom of the sea, as the Phillies (46-73) have the worst record in baseball.

“It’s been kind of tough to see them go through the changes,” former Phillie Dale Murphy said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I think that’s the challenge of managing an organization that has some success – (deciding) when to break it up (and) how to do it at the right time. It looks like they might have waited a little too long, but they have received some prospects in some of their trades and gotten rid of some big contracts.”

The Dodgers, meanwhile, now have a payroll surpassing $300 million and are still searching for their first World Series title since 1988.

“The Dodgers, I don’t know,” Murphy said. “You’re right: It’s a monstrous payroll. But payroll size has never bothered me as far as competing against it. I think all sports show time and time again it’s leadership and management and scouting and coaching that wins pennants and championships.”

The Dodgers have $80 million in dead money – money they’re paying guys not playing for the team.

Is this good for the sport?

“Well, it doesn’t affect the sport, I don’t think,” Murphy said. “I think it’s great for the players. More power to them. The problem with having that much money is you want to say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to be cost-effective,’ but when you have that money and you see the possibility of short-term gain, which does not consistently win championships, it’s hard to go backwards. More power to them if they do, but I’ll be shocked if they do. It just doesn’t win. It doesn’t win consistently enough to overcome good scouting and prospects. And then (you) make the good smart trades with prospects and load up on pitching.”

Hmm, where have we seen that before?

“I think the Giants and other teams have shown that. (So have) the Royals,” Murphy said. “It’s okay to have a nice-sized payroll, but it just doesn’t win consistently and make you competitive just to out-spend people. It just doesn’t work.”


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