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Chase Utley’s extension with Phillies worth up to $75 million

Aug 8, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT

Chase Utley AP

Chase Utley‘s contract extension with the Phillies is officially a two-year, $27 million deal, but Ken Rosenthal of reports that the second baseman can earn up to $75 million depending on what happens with vesting options.

According to Rosenthal the contract includes three vesting options for $15 million each in 2016, 2017, and 2018, which are triggered if Utley reaches 500 plate appearances in the previous season. Utley will be 35 years old in a couple months and hasn’t topped 500 plate appearances in a season since 2010, so it’s certainly an interesting contract that includes other incentives and buyouts that could bring it to a maximum of $75 million over five years.

If he stays healthy and effective the Phillies would gladly pay him $15 million per season, but the vesting options remove just about all the risk from the team’s point of view. Beyond paying him $27 million for ages 35 and 36, of course, which certainly carries plenty of risk in itself. Check out Rosenthal’s full breakdown for all the other details, including what happens if Utley doesn’t reach 500 plate appearances and the Phillies get team options for those years.

  1. prionogenic - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I think this makes most Phillies fans happy. Utley was underpaid during his peak years and this contract ensures that as long as he’s on the field and healthy, he’ll stay a Phillie for life

    • gothapotamus90210 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      You don’t understand the CBA. Utley got a guaranteed $85M three years before he was to hit free agency. It’s a hedge on both sides – ownership hopes the player pans out and doesn’t have to bid in free agency, and the player gets security in the event they don’t pan out.

      • dickclydesdale - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Phils GM Ruben Amaro is an idiot for dishing out huge bucks to a player over 35 after seeing the A-rod contract debacle. Utley is wayyyyyyyy past his prime. He is well into his decline phase. He will collect cash on the D.L. the next 2 seasons. Stupid Amaro you sir are what we call in Mexico a PENDEJO!

      • gothapotamus90210 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Clydesdale – my comment pertained to his 7 year, $85M deal he signed in 2007. Apparently they didn’t teach you how to read English.

      • prionogenic - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        I perfectly well understand the CBA and how contract negotiations work. The Phillies bought out years of arbitration and free agency while Utley was still under control at a discount. Utley got security knowing that no matter what happens (blow out knees, brokens wrists, etc) he’d still get paid.

        Perhaps to be more clear, in many of his years, he provided much more value to the team that he was compensated for.

        Also, to all the people making the arguments against me saying Utley is underpaid, do you have any problems calling Ryan Howard, Albery Pujols, Josh Hamilton, A-Rod, or Jayson Werth overpaid?

      • biasedhomer - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        Exactly. For example, Ricky Romero signed a big extension, and now he’s playing in the minors.

        You usually end up with a bargain or a mess when extending players before free agency.

      • evanwins - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:24 PM

        Hey dicjkeyclysdale, you want to point out where that decline you’re talking about is substantiated?

        Were Beltran and Torii Hunter wayyyyy past their prome when they signed their 2 year deals?

        You are what we call in America a complete idiot….but please don’t come over here to find that out.

    • clemente2 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Utley agreed to the contract. He was not underpaid, unless you have information the Phillies failed to pay his contract.

      • prionogenic - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Just because he agreed to the contract doesn’t mean he didn’t outperform what his salary paid and it doesn’t mean he wasn’t worth more than he was paid. Just because he agreed to the salary doesn’t mean he wasn’t also underpaid

    • greymares - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      He’s the Phillies fans Derek Jeter. (good signing).

  2. kingscourt25 - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    el oh el

  3. mp4philly - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    I’m a Philies fan and have been one since the days when less than five thousand people were in Vetrtans stadium.
    So what if he was underpaid? What does that have to do with now? Ruben is a mess as a GM.

    • dbick - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      Ruben is a terrible GM, but this is arguably the best deal he’s had so far. Utley is still top 5 2B when healthy and continues to mash at the plate. He realistically wont reach 500 PA so this contract is a pretty solid one. Better than throwing 100 mil at robinson cano, thats for sure.

  4. jwbiii - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    It looks like the only way for Phillies to get burned here is if Utley is healthy (yeah, right) and bad and they keep running him out there due to the lack of a better option.

  5. tcostant - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    It could be 3 years from now, but I can image a scenario when a healthy Utley is benched late in the season so that option doesn’t vest and the media harping on it. I could happen.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      The union can file a grievance if Philly can’t come up with a justification.

  6. chew1985 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    The only thing that the Phillies can still do with authority is spend money. Don’t be surprised if they renew Doc in a similarly-structured deal. Then maybe go after Steve Carlton while they’re at it.

  7. jaysfan64 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    At first glance I thought the headline read “Chase Utley’s extortion with Phillies worth..”

  8. Utley's Hair - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    WOOHOO!!!!!! It’s a risky contract for both sides, but there are also performance incentives locked in there. This shows the fans that the organization is listening, and know what they want. In any organization, going younger requires veteran presence to teach the newbies the lay of the land, how to act, how to navigate the media and the fanbase, what they need to do to win. What better way to do that than to sign the guy who has never had to be benched for not legging out routine balls? His home run trot is a gallop, and he’ll be crossing the plate before most guys get to short. He’s the heart and soul of the Phightins. He’s the one who can teach the new guys what they need to know to get that ring.

    The Man is here for good. WOOHOO!!!!

  9. scdocal - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Why would you give a declining player with chronic knee problems an extension. Not to mention he in his mid 30s. This is why the phillies suck and young teams like the braves run away with the division. How did that Howard contract work out and halladay?

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      It’s a two year deal that COULD morph into as much as five. It has a limit of ONE DL stint for his knees. Leadership and work ethic need to be taught, and Utley gives his all every damn play, inning, game. A lot of people—not just younger players looking to replace him—could learn a lot from him.

    • ryanrockzzz - Aug 9, 2013 at 7:33 AM

      Young teams like the Braves run away with the division because of the cyle of sports. While the Phillies were winning the N.L. East for five years in a row, the Braves were getting better drafpicks, and were not trading away top talent in deadline deals to keep the team near the top. The Phillies are in their decline phase, and if handled properly, they will back up top around the time the Brave are dealing with that stupid B.J Upton contract.

  10. evanwins - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    For the ones who just want to let hate and ignorance ruin the conversation pass by this comment.

    This could be one of the smartest contracts ever done. It essentially ensures a healthy productive player is on the field earning his money. If there’s no healthy player the contract ends. If the player isn’t productive (and moved into a platoon situation or less) the contract ends. If the player stays on the field and is productive the contract continues. There’s a lot to complain about with Amaro but this isn’t part of it.

    I can’t remember an agreement like this ever. It’s only possible if both parties are honest with each other and want the same thing.

    Chase either ends his career as a Phillie or his career ends as a Philllie. And that’s what both sides wanted.

    Utley was the best option for offense, defense, leadership and most importantly for the Phillies, fan retention.

    BTW, this deal is guaranteed right up to the expiration of the current TV deal.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM

      Bingo. This kind of mutual risk/reward type of contract is actually a bit refreshing. It also shows that the Phils are (intelligently) loyal to the guys who got them to the top. I see this as a move to start a push for another title sooner rather than later.

  11. dannythebisforbeast - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    I have a hard time believing that Ruben ” all I know how to do is trade my top 3 prospects for your best pitcher” Amaro invented a 500 AB vesting option. It’s probably rarer that a player accepts such terms whereas A guy like Utley probably thinks if I don’t get 500 ABs I’m not worth that $$. RAJ sucks.

  12. pkswally024 - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Listen to you all! You sound like fools.

  13. greymares - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    @chew1985 I for one hope they will do an incentive laden deal with Halladay. If the health issues are gone this can still be a helluva starting staff.

  14. jiggy3198 - Aug 9, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Hey I’ve got an idea instead of getting younger and faster. Let’s get older and slower.

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