Salisbury: Chase Utley, Phillies discussing extension?

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury suggests that the Phillies and second baseman Chase Utley are working on a contract extension. There is nothing concrete and neither side has given any indication that there have, indeed, been extension talks. Salisbury cites anonymous sources and uses some circumstantial evidence that point to it.

To wit:

• A person with knowledge of the situation says the Phillies have had recent talks with Utley’s representation about a contract extension.

• Word in well-placed baseball circles is that the Phillies are not listening to trade offers for Utley.

• The decision to broaden second-base prospect Cesar Hernandez’ utility skills by having him play some outfield shouldn’t be underestimated, especially upon further review of the comment that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. made to CSNPhilly.com on Sunday.

“If we’re fortunate enough to keep Chase in our uniform, which we hope to do, Cesar becomes a utility piece,” Amaro said Sunday.

• In the same conversation, Amaro was asked point blank if he’d begun to speak with Utley’s representation about an extension.

“We wouldn’t discuss it even if we did,” he said.

He didn’t say no. Amaro isn’t always forthcoming when it comes to matters of negotiations, but he has a way of shooting down the ridiculous. He didn’t shoot this one down.

An extension is the only way the Phillies can justify not trading Utley within the next week. They fell to 49-52 with a brutal loss last night to the Cardinals. Entering the night, Baseball Prospectus gave the Phillies a four percent chance to make the playoffs, three percent to win the NL East specifically. Comparatively, the Braves were 92 percent to win the division and the Nationals five percent. If the Phillies aren’t sellers — particularly at this point, in a seller’s market — then their standards for contention are remarkably lax.

Hopefully, we’ll be seeing Michael Young, Delmon Young, Carlos Ruiz, and Jonathan Papelbon made available quite soon.

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64 comments

  1. Phillie697

    July 26, 2013 12:52 PM

    @schmenkman,

    Fair enough. Still better than what RAJ chose.

  2. hk

    July 26, 2013 10:34 PM

    Joecatz,

    It looks like you got #3 on your list. Kudos to RAJ if the reports are true.

  3. hk

    July 27, 2013 10:35 AM

    Joecatz,

    A lot of people on other sites are speculating that the Gonzalez signing is the precursor to a Lee trade (with conspiracy theorists coming out of the woodwork suggesting that Lee’s neck injury is not real). However, I wonder if the Gonzalez signing is actually the precursor to something that you suggest – a Kendrick trade – or even more aggressive like a trade of one of the organizations pitching prospects. What do you think? And, if you really ARE the GM, what are you planning next?

  4. Pencilfish

    July 27, 2013 11:39 AM

    Phillie697,

    “The fact that they didn’t push to the limit of cap space this season is the primary reason why I think they’re not about to do so next season, so that “financial advantage” people talk about so much might not be as large as people think.”

    What do you think of the reports about the Phillies signing Gonzalez for 6yr/$50M? I recall some people (including Bill and you?) complained about the Phillies not making any big splashes in the international market. Besides the possible Lee or KK trade Joecatz mentions, this move rejuvenates the Phillies (Gonzalez is 26) and makes a commitment for the future in a big way.

  5. Joecatz

    July 27, 2013 01:32 PM

    HK,

    I hate to speculate too much here, as it can go either way. The one thing I believe to be certain is that Gonzalez, should he fit into the rotation (and not the back of the bullpen) in 2014, replaces one of those guys.

    If its me I’m shopping Kendrick, either now or in the offseason, not lee, but that’s just because I believe this move is based on restructuring around pitching again.

    Between Martin/Morgan/biddle, plus lee, hamels gonzo, and even halasay there are a ton of options here.

    Again, my next move is trading both papelbon and young for sure, and honestly, if Boston wants to give you boegarts and it means giving them lee, you drive him to the airport.

    But I don’t move lee without getting whoever wants hims top guy. Especially a NL team. You don’t give him to the cards without taveras.

    And I don’t give him to Pittsburg without getting Cole or Tallion back.

    I also resign utley though.

  6. hk

    July 27, 2013 02:02 PM

    Joe,

    Thanks. My thoughts are:

    1. I think you can count on one finger the number of teams that are in the market for Papelbon. I’m betting it’s Detroit and Detroit alone. It would have been nice to put up a 2-spot on Benoit in the 9th last night and have Papelbon come in and save a one run victory. Alas, it was not to be.

    2. I agree on Michael Young. It’s time to ask Boston, the Yankees, the Rangers and whoever else is interested for their best and final offers and turn over 3B to Galvis and Frandsen, when he’s not playing 1B, in August and bring up Asche in September.

    3. If they are going to shop Kendrick, it has to be now. If they tender him a contract next off-season, they’re likely stuck with him for 2014, but there might be some interest in him (Oakland?) as a 2-month rental.

    4. I have said that they should only trade Lee for Profar, but Boegarts, Taveras, Cole and Tallion would also work. That being said, I don’t think any of those prospects are being traded at the deadline.

    5. I would not be surprised if Ruben comes away from the deadline with the 2014 starting RF. I could see him using the savings from replacing Halladay with Gonzalez and one of the young pitchers (Martin or Pettibone?) to take on another team’s unwanted salary (Alex Rios?).

  7. Phillie697

    July 28, 2013 03:11 AM

    @Pencilfish,

    I like the move only because it’s something RAJ hasn’t done before. However, from all that I’ve read, I don’t think he’s going to be ready next season like hk and joecatz seem to think, unless he pitches in the pen, in which case short-term this is just a blip. If we just spent $48M for a bullpen arm, we might as well just shoot ourselves right now. He has to be a starter for this to be “exciting.”

    Cole is out of the question. Pirates are not dumb enough to trade a 22-year-old pitcher who is ML-ready now and have pitched by rookie standards nothing less than outstanding, for a 34-year-old pitcher making way too much money for their taste. Taveras is out too; Cards are too disciplined to pull the trigger.

    Boegarts I can see, but if it happens at all, Red Sox will ask us to eat a LOT of money, to the point it might not be worth it; there comes a point where Lee’s production is worth more to us than a prospect if we have to pay $40M to get said prospect. As for Tallion, can someone explain to me what all the hype with this kid is about? I don’t see it.

  8. Phillie697

    July 28, 2013 03:49 AM

    If we can get over our Braves hatred, trading Lee to Braves might be our best bet. They’ve got way too much pitching, and for Lee, I’m very sure, now that Hudson is gone, the Braves would trade Teheran; that’s our Gerrit Cole right there. I mean, what do the Braves care. They got Minor, Beachy, and Medlen; Lee would look awfully nice with those young pitchers.

  9. Joecatz

    July 28, 2013 07:52 AM

    697,

    Lolololol,

    Seriously man, if I told you RAJ just traded Galvis and Howard for Stanton, you’d figure out how to bitch about how much money we ate in the deal.

    What have you read where the says that Gonzalez won’t be ready by next year?? He’s ready in two weeks if you want him to be. No ne has said anything to the contrary.

    You bitched and bitched and bitched about cespedes and puig. This is exactly what you would have said if they paid for puig st the time. Exactly.

    No risk, no reward.

  10. Phillie697

    July 28, 2013 11:24 AM

    Where have you seen me bitch about Gonzalez?

  11. Phillie697

    July 28, 2013 11:26 AM

    And for a person who’s been advocating left and right about Lee’s value, criticizing someone else for recognizing his value is… there is a word for that.

  12. Pencilfish

    July 28, 2013 09:03 PM

    Phillie697,

    While it’s possible Gonzalez may need a little polishing, I think it is a certainty he starts next season, so I am with Joecatz on this one. Certainly it wouldn’t make sense to put him in the BP, I agree, but I can’t see a scenario where the Phillies put him in the BP, even if Pap is gone.

  13. Phillie697

    July 29, 2013 12:53 AM

    @Pencilfish,

    I don’t want him put in the rotation for the sake of being put in the rotation. He either is ready or he is not. 1.6 WAR is still pretty hefty for a rookie, because to get that as a pitcher you kinda need to make quite a few starts. We shall see.

    And I’m not even opposed for him to start in the pen. I’m just saying if that’s the case short-term he has no impact. Ultimately for the move to pan out he eventually has to be in the rotation, but that doesn’t have to happen next season imo. Many ways to generate 9.6 WAR; it doesn’t have to come 1.6 wins at a time every season. He can go Roy Halladay on us and earn it in one season for all I care :) In fact, I’d prefer that LOL.

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