Veteran second baseman Chase Utley has agreed to return to the Dodgers on a one-year deal, per Andy McCullogh of the LA Times.
The 38-year-old was mulling offers from four teams, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Last offseason, Utley was the first non-qualifying-offer free agent signed by the Dodgers, returning to the team on a one-year, $7 million deal on Dec. 9. This year, he agreed to return a little more than a week before position players report to spring training.
Utley had a nice bounce-back season with the Dodgers in 2016, hitting .252/.319/.396 with 14 home runs and 26 doubles in 138 games at age 37. He was the busy side of a platoon at second base, starting just seven times in 46 games against left-handed starting pitchers.
Though he faded down the stretch, hitting just .236/.292/.381 from June 1 through the end of the season, Utley’s leadership and clubhouse presence was seen as a key to the team’s success.
"It's something we value greatly," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in October. "The respect that we have for him on the field, off the field remains unchanged."
Manager Dave Roberts said at the scouts foundation dinner in Los Angeles on Jan. 14 that Utley was "my favorite player of all-time."
The Dodgers went with a right-handed solution at second base, trading for Logan Forsythe on Jan. 23. Even with Forsythe aboard, Friedman didn’t fully rule out a potential return for Utley.
"Never say never with a guy like Chase just because of the type of guy he is and the impact he has," Friedman said in January. "It's one of those things, we probably would have re-signed him months ago if our lineup was a little bit more balanced."
Turns out, Utley is back anyway. Now, to sort out the increasingly-crowded roster.