Phillies Ink Chase Utley to a Two-Year Extension

Chase Utley is batting .277 this season for the Phillies.

Chase Utley is batting .277 this season for the Phillies.

When the July trade deadline rolled around for Major League Baseball, Chase Utley was one of the many names people expected the Phillies to dangle. Those speculations did not come to fruition as General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. characterized Utley as a “Phillie for life.”

CSNPhilly first reported that the two sides had agreed to a contract extension last night during the Phillies lost to the Cubs. Utley did not start in that game. Reportedly the two sides agreed upon a two year extension worth around $27 million with at least one option.

The move shows the organization’s commitment to Utley, but it undoubtedly comes with some risks.

Utley will remain one of the faces of the franchise for the next few seasons.

Utley will remain one of the faces of the franchise for the next few seasons.

Utley’s last few seasons in pinstripes have been characterized by injuries. His knees have not proven to be the most sturdy. The Phillies have decided to take the risk in an attempt to keep a player that the feel embodies everything they want out of current and future Phillies.

While that may be an admirable pursuit, is it the best decision for the future of the franchise?

The Phillies made a similar move when they extended Jimmy Rollins and while that may not have crippled the team, it has not vaulted them toward more winning. If Utley continues the pattern of missing games, the Phillies may be on the hook for $27 million guaranteed with little to show for it.

When healthy, Utley has been productive however. He has been one of the most consistent hitters on the Phillies this season.

Despite struggles, Utley wants to remain a Phillie for the remainder of his career.

Despite struggles, Utley wants to remain a Phillie for the remainder of his career.

Amaro Jr. is rolling the dice on Utley’s knees in an attempt to keep a player around with the ability to establish the culture of the clubhouse. Utley is also a player that has connected to the Phillies’ fan base since his arrival. These aspects are certainly important but it is reasonable to be worried considering the fact that the Phillies’ window appears to be closing quickly.

Maybe another gritty season or two out of Utley can prop that window open a little bit.

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