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:
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.