Report: Phillies and Chase Utley Agree on Contract Extension

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Phillies and Chase Utley have agreed on a contract extension that would keep the second baseman in Philadelphia through at least 2015, when he will be 36 years old. Exact details of the contract are not known yet, but this is from Rosenthal’s column:

The Phillies are close to signing Utley to a two-year extension with multiple vesting options, according to major-league sources. The total guaranteed money in the deal will be in the “high 20s,” one source said — between $25 million and $30 million.

At two-years and a maximum of $30 million, the Phillies are getting a good value, retaining one of baseball’s best second basemen. Even dating back to 2010, capturing all three of Utley’s injury-plagued years, he still ranked among the top-five in WAR:

Player WAR/pos From To Age G PA AB
Robinson Cano 26.4 2010 2013 27-30 592 2553 2292
Ben Zobrist 22.0 2010 2013 29-32 571 2471 2099
Dustin Pedroia 20.6 2010 2013 26-29 489 2220 1950
Ian Kinsler 16.5 2010 2013 28-31 502 2305 2009
Chase Utley 15.4 2010 2013 31-34 384 1669 1433
Brandon Phillips 14.0 2010 2013 29-32 556 2443 2230
Howie Kendrick 12.9 2010 2013 26-29 553 2286 2122
Omar Infante 10.6 2010 2013 28-31 507 2043 1895
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/7/2013.

Having Utley around will also prevent the Phillies from A) wildly overspending on Robinson Cano; or B) utilizing a vastly inferior replacement like Cesar Hernandez or Freddy Galvis. The health concerns are legitimate — if he plays in 33 more games, he will have surpassed his high point from 2010-12 — but he still does everything well, baseball-wise.

Utley will continue his career ostensibly until he retires. He is one of only three Phillies position players to amass 50 or more career WAR (57.7), per Baseball Reference, joining Mike Schmidt (106.6) and Richie Ashburn (57.3). If he is able to stay healthy and continue to produce, these next two-plus years can be what he needs to elevate himself into the Hall of Fame discussion.

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83 comments

  1. Phillie697

    August 09, 2013 10:04 AM

    @Pencilfish,

    No one is saying prospects can be can’t-miss; anyone who says that is so optimistic that I want to sell him some “trinkets.” No one is also saying that prospects aren’t risky. You, however, seem to hold a bias that every fan understandably holds: that other team’s prospects can fail, but we should hold out hope for ours. That’s about the only conclusion I can draw from your comments these last few months.

  2. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 10:33 AM

    hk,

    The analogy can only go so far. It wasn’t meant to be taken literally. Prospects are obviously statistically-weighed lottery tickets. Some have a greater chance of succeeding than others. That being said, they are still a shot in the dark. Injuries, ineffectiveness, inability to develop at higher levels, character issues, etc can all derail a prospect’s career. Signing Utley to an extension is a different kind of risk (age and injuries), but the latter has a business side, which many fail to appreciate: Utley sells tickets.

    Phillie697,
    “You, however, seem to hold a bias that every fan understandably holds: that other team’s prospects can fail, but we should hold out hope for ours”

    Understandable but inaccurate conclusion, just as much if I said you are the exact opposite, given your recent comments about the Phillies’ prospects.

  3. Phillie697

    August 09, 2013 10:38 AM

    Well I held out hope for Dom Brown a lot longer you did, so I guess I’m not anti-bias about Phillies prospects. I just like to have good prospects period, and most scouts tend to agree with me on Asche and Ruf.

  4. Phillie697

    August 09, 2013 10:42 AM

    And besides, I never once said I don’t like Ruf and Asche; I just don’t think they’ll turn into All-Stars on the level of Dom Brown. If people are okay with 2-WAR average starters at OF and 3B respectively, I think Asche and Ruf has decent shots to get there. I on the other hand still like to win, so I would want to at least get more out of that OF spot than 2 WAR. At 3B, 2 WAR probably is fine for me, but if there is a chance to get more, heck yeah I’m going to get more.

  5. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 10:51 AM

    I would like to take Bill’s comment on the Darin Ruf article:

    “You can’t use Minor League numbers with any significant degree of confidence”

    and expand it as:

    You can’t use Minor League numbers alone with any significant degree of confidence [to predict success at the Major League level]

    We can use it to promote prospects and give them a shot, but until they get their ~600 PA’s over a full season, we just don’t know. This applies to Profar, Bogaerts, but also obviously to Ruf, Asche, Encarnacion, etc.

  6. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 10:53 AM

    Phillie697,

    Have you seen my comments on the young BP arms the Phillies brought up from the minors?

  7. joecatz

    August 09, 2013 11:12 AM

    I wouldn’t call Encarnacion a lottery ticket. He was the 4th ranked international guy and they spent $1,000,000 to sign him. I may be wrong about this but aside from the MAG deal I believe this is the most individual money they’ve ever bonused out to an international signing.

    What it is, is a GREAT SIGN that they’re grasping the changing landscape.

  8. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 11:20 AM

    “Well I held out hope for Dom Brown a lot longer you did, so I guess I’m not anti-bias about Phillies prospects”

    Yes, I was wrong, and I gave up on Dom Brown too soon. You and RAJ have something in common :-)

    “I never once said I don’t like Ruf and Asche; I just don’t think they’ll turn into All-Stars on the level of Dom Brown.”

    We don’t need All-Stars at every position, and I don’t want to repeat the mistake on giving up on a player too soon.

  9. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 11:34 AM

    joecatz,

    Encarnacion is 16. An optimist might say that he will be at the cusp of the majors in a half-decade. That’s too far away to predict anything reliably, how he will develop skill-wise and body-wise, whether he’s a better fit for LF or 1B, etc.

    The Phillies have not been a big player in international signings until recently, but not only has management began to fill the minors with lottery tickets (I am okay if others prefer the word “talent” here), but I think they understand the changing FA landscape. Having a lot of money from the new TV deal may not be meaningful if talented FA are not available. Spending it on international signings, scouting, etc sounds like a prudent alternative strategy.

  10. hk

    August 09, 2013 11:36 AM

    Pencilfish,

    Got it. By lumping all prospects into the lottery tickets category, I wasn’t sure whether you thought they all have an equal chance of success (however you measure success).

    On your other point, winning sells tickets much more than any one individual player does. Would fans who have an affinity for Utley prefer to win with Utley instead of without him? Sure. However, most fans would prefer to win without Utley than go through another Phillies season like the last two with Utley. Of the many people with whom I’ve spoken, e-mailed or texted about the Utley signing, not one is going to buy tickets next year just because they re-signed Utley. In fact, a few who are opposed to the signing and the lack of deadline activity have actually gone the other direction and used the Utley signing as a reason not to expect change for the better and not to renew season tickets. While I don’t share that opinion and while my friends and acquaintances are a small sample, I think that you (and RAJ) overrate the amount of tickets that Utley alone will sell.

  11. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 12:02 PM

    hk,

    Utley asked RAJ about the future of the team and whether management was committed to putting a winning product on the field. This is what Utley said:

    “That was one of my initial questions,” Utley said. “I wanted to know where we’re at. [Amaro] laid it out for me. He said we want to win. We’re going to do what we need to do to win. I’ve known Ruben a long time. We have a good relationship. We trust each other.”

  12. hk

    August 09, 2013 12:06 PM

    Wasn’t RAJ committed to winning last year and this year?

  13. Steve

    August 09, 2013 12:07 PM

    If we would have had 2 WAR players at 3B and RF this season instead of the two highly ineffective Young brothers, we would have been a much better team…I lobbied for Asche and Ruf to start although Ruf showed he wasn’t ready for the outfield in ST. I am happy he is being given a chance today and Asche needed seasoning but, again, happy he is here now. The team made the right choice in holding off except RAJ performed miserably in choosing the men to hold down the fort. Than he holds on to them past expiration again showing a lack of talent evaluation whereby he values bad players for more than they are worth. Sometimes opening a roster spot (DY) or dumping 2 mil in contract (MY) is actually worth something. I thought 2 million actually was money but the Phils owners obviously see it as chump change.

  14. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 12:26 PM

    hk,

    “Wasn’t RAJ committed to winning last year and this year?”

    He obviously made mistakes. DY seems increasingly one of them. All the BP arms from the minors is another. Injuries to Halladay, Howard, Utley and Revere didn’t help. Let’s not forget Utley left money on the table by forgoing FA. He seems to know more than we do about RAJ’s 2014 plan, and he bought into it.

  15. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 12:27 PM

    Steve,

    Michael Young cannot be traded without his consent, just like Rollins.

  16. Phillie697

    August 09, 2013 12:35 PM

    @Pencilfish,

    Like always, we agree more than we realize. I just think we can do better in OF than Ruf. I mean, you always talk about our money; we have to spend it somewhere right? LOL.

    3B, I’m okay with sticking with Asche and see 1) what he can do, and 2) what Franco can do.

  17. hk

    August 09, 2013 12:38 PM

    Adams, Durbin, Schierholtz, Michael Young,… the list of mistakes goes on and on. What, other than signing Utley to a team-friendly contract because Utley was willing to give up money in exchange for being a Phillie for life gives you confidence that RAJ can build a winner?

  18. Steve

    August 09, 2013 12:52 PM

    PF, not 100% true; MY consented to be traded as long as it was to specific teams, i.e. those in contention and would have moved. JRoll has 100% control and has stated he would not accept a trade anywhere. The two players are not in the same boat and moving MY before the trade deadline could easily have been done if RAJ did not overvalued a negative value player who is 36 years old and making 3 million after June 1st and 1.5 at this point. The market is no longer available but since we didn’t value two million before what’s the diff in releasing them both and playing min value AAA players in their place. Asche was playing well at the time and there was no reason to keep MY in June. Kevin Fransden and JMJ can both play 1B as poorly as MY and they both hit about the same. Ruf also is a 1B by trade, we have Castro in AAA who again is no worse than DY in RF. Could he strike out more often? Would I pay to see a team with a lineup of Fransden, Utley, Jroll, Asche, Brown, JMJ and Ruf. maybe, am I going to pay to see MY and DY playing, NO. But I will listen to the first team on the radio. When I see DY is playing, I just turn it off.

  19. Steve

    August 09, 2013 12:57 PM

    Boy, we have fallen far as the lineup mentioned is only a few, quick steps away. Of course, we do have the awesome Casper Wells to help fill the void as well as our McDonald and Mini Mart. How pathetic is that bench?

  20. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 01:06 PM

    Steve,

    Bringing up Asche in June could quicken his eligibility for arbitration. Baseball is a business too.

  21. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 01:14 PM

    hk,

    Utley is the only thing RAJ did right this year? That’s harsh. What about Revere (0.8 WAR for $450k)? What about keeping Brown? Michael Young is just a transitional player between Polanco and Asche. I don’t see how you place him in the same category with Durbin, DY and the BP arms from hell.

    If you are going to blame RAJ for Adams injury, then you should praise him for passing on Madson.

    “What…gives you confidence that RAJ can build a winner?”

    Are you talking to me or to Utley?

  22. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 02:12 PM

    hk, Phillie697,

    Phillies DFA Delmon Young. I think we can add one more kudos for RAJ here, even if it is a belated one.

  23. yo

    August 09, 2013 02:16 PM

    Pencil, if DFAing Young after giving him nearly 300 ABs and not trading Brown after jerking him around for a couple of years are in RAJ’s top 10 positive moves, the discussion is pretty much over, amirite?

  24. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 02:28 PM

    291 PA’s to be exact. The Phillies saved $150k by not letting him reach 300 PA’s. The experiment with DY failed, and it was time to let Ruf try his luck.

    Phillie697,

    I recall you didn’t want to discuss JMJ until DY was gone. Now we can.

  25. Phillie697

    August 09, 2013 02:43 PM

    Well, what do you want to discuss JMJ about? Looks like Ruf answered that question, and we ain’t got anyone else to play CF other than JMJ.

  26. Pencilfish

    August 09, 2013 03:25 PM

    Phillie697,

    That was a joke :-)

    Seriously, I think RAJ is beginning to clean the house and set up for 2014, so he’s giving opportunities to Asche, Ruf, Martin. If any other position player comes before the rosters expand in September, my guess is that Mini-Mart and McDonald will be DFA’d.

  27. Larry

    August 09, 2013 03:41 PM

    Where is the article about Delmon Young? We should have Gifs showing the worst of Delmon, just a thought. So one more article request Bill Baer. The worst of Delmon Young ending a pathetic stint in Philly. We all drink a toast.

  28. Larry

    August 09, 2013 03:42 PM

    One other thing Michael Martinez is starting in CF tonight? Ugh.

  29. hk

    August 10, 2013 05:44 AM

    Pencilfish,

    For one who often preaches that baseball is a business and the GM’s job is to make as much profit as possible for the owners, even you have to admit it’s a poor job performance if two of his good moves were:

    1. Saving $150K by cutting Delmon Young now after spending $2M and 291 PA’s to find out what 99% of those commenting on this board knew in March, that Delmon Young should be no one’s definition of a baseball player.

    2. Trading two cost-controlled young pitchers and paying $7.2M of management’s money for Michael Young, who has accumulated 0.3 fWAR and -0.5 bWAR. Interestingly, Josh Lindblom has accumulated 0.4 fWAR and 0.1 bWAR in limited playing time for the Rangers. That Young was here to be a bridge to Asche is irrelevant. Unless RAJ can dump him before the season ends, they’ll have squandered $7.2M and two arms for less production than they most likely could have received from players that were already in the system when they traded for Young.

    If I owned this team, I would find nothing positive about the $9.2M reduction in profits, the negative production and the opportunity cost from having the Youngs on this year’s team.

  30. joecatz

    August 10, 2013 02:30 PM

    “Interestingly, Josh Lindblom has accumulated 0.4 fWAR and 0.1 bWAR in limited playing time for the Rangers”

    Lindblom has done that as a starter, effectively, in 5 games. His k/9 is down to 6.03 and he’s pitching to a 4.52 xFIP.

    Lisalberto Bonilla still cant cntrol the walks, was demoted from AAA after posting a 7.95 ERA and a 4.95 xFIP.

    Neither of those guys was a loss, neither of those guys made a difference. They are both average players at best. Bonilla has some upside, but no more than the other 10 hard throwing no control relievers in the system.

    For all the Michael Young bashing, the guy, offensively performed above expectations. All of his negative WAR is fielding related. taking issue with not going with Kevin Frandsen at 3B is one thing, but there were no other alternatives in the system.

    Eric Chavez signed the day before we traded for Young, and they avoided kevin Youklis and making a boneheaded trade of the entire system for a guy like Chase headley.

    The Michael Young trade didn’t hurt the farm system, and it certainly was not the reason why the team underperformed. in reality, long term, it probably does a lot more good than bad.

    The $6mm stopped them from giving up a protected pick for Swisher, which netted JP Crawford, and they didn’t deal Brown, Biddle, Franco or Asche or Ruf for a 3B.

    All told, The Michael Young trade might have cost you two craptastic arms, but it likely also netted you Crawford, and allowed you to have one of Biddle or Franco still in the fold.

    Its a drop in the bucket.

  31. hk

    August 10, 2013 04:09 PM

    “For all the Michael Young bashing, the guy, offensively performed above expectations. All of his negative WAR is fielding related. taking issue with not going with Kevin Frandsen at 3B is one thing, but there were no other alternatives in the system.”

    Defense matters. And yes, Kevin Frandsen was my preferred option. My plan for the Phillies after the Revere trade was platoon Schierholtz and Mayberry in RF, and sign Anibal Sanchez with the money they spent on M. Young, D. Young, Lannan, Adams and Durbin.

    “All told, The Michael Young trade might have cost you two craptastic arms, but it likely also netted you Crawford, and allowed you to have one of Biddle or Franco still in the fold.”

    That’s pretty faint praise that the best thing you can say about a move is that it prevented the GM from making an even dumber move.

    “Its a drop in the bucket.”

    I agree, but I find it hard to put it in the win column for the GM as it was money that was not well spent. Further, Pencilfish is the one who always says that the GM’s job is to make profit for the owners, so I find it odd that he praised a deal in which RAJ basically flushed $7.2M of the onwer’s dollars down the toilet…unless we are to believe that the trade for Michael Young sold a lot of tickets.

  32. Taco

    August 10, 2013 06:48 PM

    All of the people saying that the phillies need good, young, cost-controlled players reminds me of this scene from the movie mr. wrong:

    youtu.be/Vb86oRR9Mgs?t=29m55s

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