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Are the Phillies working on a contract extension for Chase Utley?

Jul 25, 2013, 8:53 AM EDT

Chase Utley AP

Chase Utley is having a nice season. But (a) he’s 34; (b) his best baseball is certainly behind him, not in front of him; (c) his knees are ticking time bombs; and (d) the Phillies aren’t going anyplace and likely have to rebuild before they’re serious contenders again.

In light of all of that, you have to think that the best move is to try to trade Utley. He could really help a contender this year and, given what Matt Garza and even Francisco Rodriguez brought in trades, the Phillies could probably get a useful piece or two for him.

Jim Salisbury of, however, thinks that the Phillies are working on a contract extension for Utley:

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.

Maybe this is just about making him seem more valuable to Philly than he is in an effort to drive up the price. Maybe Ruben Amaro believes that the Phillies still can contend with an Utley-Howard-Rollins-Lee-Hamels core.  If it’s the latter, well, OK, it’s your team Rube. But I kinda disagree with that assessment.

  1. deathmonkey41 - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    They should sign him to a Ryan Howard-esque type extension!

  2. heyblueyoustink - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    If the contract is team friendly moving forward, something that makes Utley a Phillie for life, what’s the big deal? If you’re going to make a huge trade deadline splash, it’ll be with Papelbon and/or Cliff Lee if you’re talking impact upon return.

    Or maybe I missed the article where you opined that the Braves at some point should have traded Chipper Jones.

    • greymares - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      I agree 100% Craig has no problem telling us what he feels the Phillies should or shouldn’t do. Yet things like your Chipper Jones point and the fact that since the Braves 12-1 start they are no more than a .500 baseball team, seem to have alluded Mr. Calcaterra. If the Phils should be sellers then so should the Braves and Nats. they are all pretty bad baseball teams and 1 or 2 hot streaks will put any in the tournament.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        It’s true that all three NL Least teams have been playing badly but the 12-1 streak counts and it may be all that the Braves need to win the division. Just keep playing .500 ball and win the division 87-75 especially if the Nats and Phillies keep playing .500 or worse. BTW the word you’re searching for is eluded.

        Also the composition of the roster dictates how likely each time is to improve. Both that Nats and Braves are relatively young teams, the Phillies are pretty old, it makes more sense for the Phillies to be sellers.

        Chipper Jones was quite productive even in his last year, he’s a HoF fer frying out loud, not to mention the last two years they were in the playoff hunt so they didn’t need to sell at all. So that point doesn’t even make sense. Utley has been pretty damntastic but I think injuries robbed him of the opportunity to post sure-fire HoF numbers. He may not simply have the longevity.

    • prionogenic - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Chase Utley is an old-school baseball player. Barely talks to the media, never complains, plays hurt, says “fuck” in front of 50,000 people without blinking an eye. He is the kind of player that should stay a Phillie for life because he represents the people of this city as person and not just a ballplayer. I think you’ll really have fans turn on the team if they trade him.

      In the end, it’s really about selling tickets and not winning games. The Cubs absolutely suck, but they still pack them in. Sure it would nice if they win, but people want a team to cheer for. The Marlins have as many World Series wins as the Phillies but no one goes to watch them play. The Phillies will sell more tickets with Chase starting at 2B than some no name non-prospect they have at AAA

      • kevinbnyc - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        “Barely talks to the media, never complains, plays hurt, says “fuck” in front of 50,000 people without blinking an eye. He is the kind of player that should stay a Phillie for life because he represents the people of this city as person and not just a ballplayer.”

        He’s kind of a dick, so he fits in Philly? You said it, not the rest of us.

      • HitsDingers - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        Kevin, judging by that comment, in the world of dicks, pussies, and assholes, you’re a belly button with some lint in it.

    • therealtrenches - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      and…there you have it, folks: heyblue wins for best comment of the day. good work, sir!

  3. Jonny 5 - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Depending on where you look for rankings Utley is now rated at 10th – 13th best second baseman in MLB still. With no better option on the horizon I’d EXPECT him to be resigned for at least a couple more seasons. Platoon away if he drops off the map offensively. All thoughts of contending aside, they need a second baseman still, and he’s still good. And he’s loved in this city to boot.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      “And he’s loved in this city to boot.”

      Plus, like mentioned alone, we would get what, another Aumont for him? Nah, keep him around. That’s the right thing.

      Now Mr. Rollins on the other hand, i’m growing a little weary of.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        * Mentioned below* I meant. Damn multitasking.

    • stex52 - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      I don’t underrate the value of keeping a player simply because he is extremely popular, as long as he performs at a reasonable level. It is the fans’ game after all.

  4. js20011041 - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Who feels more helpless? A man on death row or a Phillies fan with Ruben Amaro as GM? I think I have to go with the Phillies fan. At least the guy on death row knows when his misery is going to end.

  5. schmedley69 - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Jonny 5 summed it up perfectly. I would rather have two more years of an aging Utley than trade him for another team’s middling prospect who probably will never pan out.

  6. sneschalmers - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    I have mixed feelings on this issue. On the one hand, I wholeheartedly agree with Calcaterra’s assessment of Utley and the current state of the Phillies. It would be in the Phillies best interest to move Utley for prospects now, while Utley is still valuable.

    But as a lifelong Phillies fan, it would kill me to see Utley in any other uniform. Not only has he been statistically superior (in his prime at least), but he also has displayed all the gritty, scrappy intangibles that the casual fan can really appreciate.

    And who can forget:

    • dennisund - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      I remember watching that live, right after returning home from the parade. We couldn’t believe it made it on the air, but were too euphoric to care. Another distinct memory I have of Utley from that series is the play he made at home on the infield single. I was at a bar with a Mets fan the day after the Phils clinched it and seeing this play on SportsCenter made him roll his eyes so hard I could hear it:

    • Jonny 5 - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      You’re assuming much like Craig that someone will offer prospects that are actually worth a damn for Utley. With an expiring contract he’s only going to draw scrappy gritty middle of the road prospects at best.

      • scotttheskeptic - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        Agreed, his greatest value (at the right price) is in red pinstripes.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        Well it’s not unheard of though, remember Beltran fetched Wheeler. Not saying Utley is worth a “Wheeler” but in this market who knows. Just listen to some offers and see how it plays out. If you hear something you like…

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        Don’t forget FC, that Wheeler at the time was just a high-A prospect with a 3.99 ERA (in high-A) and the Mets paid 4 million dollars (of 6.5) of Beltran’s contract to get that level of prospect. The fact that he turned out to be a good pitcher is kind of irrelevant and kind of lucky all in one. Most of the time they don’t pan out unfortunately.

  7. scotttheskeptic - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Man, that Howard deal really screws things up going forward. Ideally, I would like to see Utley on a 2-3 year deal, at decent money, playing first base to save his knees. This also puts him in place to mentor the kids that are going to be coming to (and maybe through) Philadelphia in the coming years. I see this guy as the heart-and-soul of the time, not Rollins.

  8. phillyphannn83 - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    There are few time I agree with you Craig, but this is one of them. It’s time for a new core. Its time to rebuild. The FIRST piece should be the BIG Piece…Ryan Howard. Its time to bring Ruf up and make him a full time starter. He has great plate discipline, above average power, doesn’t swing at every single breaking ball low and away, and he draws walks. With the exception of the power attribute, none of those things can be said about Howard.

    • greymares - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      stop it Ruf won’t make a pimple on a baseball players ass. the minor leaguer i can’t understand is Steve Susdorf he’s hitting .347 for the Iron Pigs and has never had a season under .310 in his professional career. this guy is a baseball player

  9. Francisco (FC) - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Heck even Bill Baer went all sentimental and preferred the Phillies work out something to keep the icon in Philly.

    I have no idea if Utley brings more to the Phillies being traded or staying and keeping seats filled up. I don’t think there’s PFA index (Player-Fan Attranction) in SABR yet. It’s also true the Phillies don’t really have a good everyday replacement ready.

    I do agree they should sell though. The Youngs if at all possible, Papelbon definitely.

  10. vicvega422 - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Worry about the Braves… Utley is an icon in Philly… You could never get true value for him.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      The Orioles, Rockies, Dodgers and Athletics could all use a better second baseman, and maybe the Tigers. I think Utley would fetch quite a bit in a trade.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      I think if they got value like the Celtics did for their icons (sorry for the cross sport reference, best thing I could think of right now), the Phils would take it.

  11. vicvega422 - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Btw everybody needs to stfu about Ryan Howard’s contract,because when the Phils sign their new tv deal they will be printing even more money @ CBP…. Get over it.

  12. babyfarkmcgeezax - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    It won’t be long before the Phillies start using walking canes as baseball bats

    • Joe - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      …or vice versa.

      Agreed that the years/dollars are critical to the analysis of a move like this. A contract extension doesn’t have to be a burden on the team.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      There was this fun cartoon on on how they were going to rename the place: “Senior Citizen’s Bank Park”.

  13. taron2in1 - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    @ scotttheskeptic… how can he be the heart & soul of a team and be so quiet. Stop hating on a MVP that said it and delivered!!!

    • scotttheskeptic - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      1) It is called leadership by example. 2) Rollins is a tremendous talent who takes plays off, has (until this year) openly sulked when not batting in the lead-off spot, yet openly refused to develop any habits usually sought in that batting position, and, in my opinion, brings a less-than-desirable approach to the game.

  14. paperlions - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    I actually agree with the people that thing they should keep Utley. Whatever they get in return is unlikely to provide as much value over the course of his/their careers as Utley will the next 2 years (besides, would you really trust RAJ to make a good deal if he traded him?). Utley is still a very productive player. He ranks 5th among MLB 2B in fWAR despite missing a month of games. His defense is still very good. He’s still a very good hitter, and he plays smart baseball.

    I don’t think the Phillies will be a very good team during the rest of Utley’s time (they’ll probably continue to try to compete and be roughly .500 or so each year until they get rid of RAJ and do a proper rebuild of the organization, top to bottom), but baseball is better with Utley playing on the Phillies, which is where he belongs.

    • scotttheskeptic - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      I wouldn’t trust Amaro with my lunch money. His idea of building a rostr was on display last night – 24 available players, and L. Nix, J. McDonald, and M. Martinez were 3 of them. Earlier in the week they were carrying three catchers and four outfielders because, per Mr. Amaro, that was the best possible combination. This means that he regarded Nix as better than anything available in the farm system. No wonder he hates the rankings of that farm system.

      • paperlions - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        Yeah, to me that was the great irony of his statements about farm system rankings…they are playing the Cardinals and Charlie made a comment to the StL media about how impressed he was with all of the young pitchers the Cardinals brought up to rebuild their pen. The Cardinals lost Holliday to the DL and just plugged in Adams and don’t really lose anything in doing so. RAJ is bitching about how hard it is to TRADE to fill holes, when teams with good farm systems don’t need to trade, they just bring guys up to do the job (which the Phillies have done well with the rotation).

      • scotttheskeptic - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:43 AM

        Charlie is on my nerves, also. He points out the plate approach the Cardinals have, and credits their organization, but 2 weeks ago he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell a post-game press conference why more of his own players do not approach situations like 2 strikes differently. He appears, to me, to have allowed an, “I’m gonna do it my way,”-attitude into the clubhouse. (Please reference my comments about Rollins.)

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        It seems Amaro’s only strength is to keep a viable starting rotation: bullpen, lineup and bench be damned.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        is bitching about how hard it is to TRADE to fill holes, when teams with good farm systems don’t need to trade, they just bring guys up to do the job

        That’s not always the case, no team can fill 100% of their needs 100% of the time through the farm. Case in point: the Cardinals made a trade to repair that torched bullpen of theirs in 2011 in order to right the ship. A Good farm can mitigate that need but never eliminate entirely (it depends on your goals, try to win now, or hunker down and try to win later).

      • paperlions - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        Most of the 2011 bullpen was just guys from the farm. They added Scrabble and Dotel, but who did help solidify things, but most of the innings still wnt to Motte, Salas, Boggs, and Sanchez….and when they did need to trade to fill a hole, they actually had guys to trade that other teams wanted and enough system depth to be able to make the trades without it affecting current or future success.

  15. toodrunktotastethischicken - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Just gonna cry myself to sleep and watch this over and over.

  16. taron2in1 - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Only player to play in every game this year is Rollins. Yup he’s the problem!!!

    • ryanrockzzz - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      does not mean he has played well lol.

      Question with Utely is if the team is going to rebuild and lose, why pay him money to keep him around during the two to three years they will be losing? Trade him for a prospect, and move on with the youth movment. The only reason to worry about having a top second baseman is if you want to win now. And are the Phillies doing that? That should determine if they keep him.

  17. anjichpa - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    There’s one fact I never see in these Phillies posts that I believe is particularly pertinent: the Phillies’ TV deal is up at the end of the 2015 season. With a weak farm system (Amaro’s protestations aside), what would likely be limited returns for his aging veterans (Cliff Lee as the only guy that could fetch a premium prospect), and a lot of sunk salary cost, I think the Phillies are just trying to bank on the marketability of their aging vets for as long as they can in hopes of extracting the most TV money possible. A monster TV deal will have a greater impact on the franchise’s health than probably any other single factor. Rebuilding would alienate a significant number of fans, and weaken the franchise’s negotiating position. While delaying the inevitable rebuilding process is almost undoubtedly bad for how quickly the Phillies can return to a window of contention, I’m guessing the Phillies think it will result in the most favorable TV terms.

  18. vicvega422 - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    FYI San Diego got a $ 4 billion tv deal… When’s the last time they were anything special… Phils will get that and more.

  19. xmatt0926x - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    I’m a Phillies fan and I don’t usually get too emotional over players, but Utley is different. Don’t get me wrong. If someone goes crazy and offers a blue chipper then hell yeah, trade him. But if it’s a middling, maybe he makes it kind of prospect then they should just keep him, assuming Utley would even want to play out his last few seasons with the team.

    People who aren’t fans probably think the Utley love is overblown, but he really is a unique player. I’ve been watching the Phillies since the early 80’s and I can’t recall a player with his constant baseball work ethic. This guy will run out a ball down by 9 runs in the 9th inning with 2 outs.

    My biggest question is why would he even agree to sign here and pretty much give up on really contending for the final years of his career. Unless Ruben is really selling him on some quick and drastic retooling effort for the next 2 seasons then I won’t believe he signs until I see it. He has said many times when asked if he will be a Phillie for life that he wants to win.

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