Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was set to be a free agent at the conclusion of the 2013 season, but that appears to be off the table. Multiple reports have Utley and the Phillies close to signing an extension. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports that the deal has been reached.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports the deal is for two years and $27 million with multiple vesting options. A bit over a week ago, Heyman reported the Phillies and Utley were talking about a deal worth about $13 million per year, so in light of that, this deal isn't surprising.
Utley is finishing up a seven-year, $85 million deal, so this new contract would represent an annual raise.
Utley, 34, entered Wednesday night hitting .275/.336/.505 with 16 doubles, five triples, 15 homers, 42 RBI, 49 runs and seven steals.
The five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger winner averaged the following season from 2005-09 before injuries took their toll and put a damper on a possible late-blooming run for the Hall of Fame:
.301/.388/.535, 39 doubles, five triples, 29 homers, 101 RBI, 111 runs, 15 stolen bases.
Again, that was his average season over the course of five years. Since then, however, he's battled various injury issues, most notably in his knees. This season Utley has missed 28 games due a rib injury. This is where the vesting options likely kick in. Should Utley stay healthy and productive, it's likely he'd hit these vesting options and remain with the Phillies even longer than the next two seasons.
The extension is a clear indication -- just as standing pat at the trade deadline as -- that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has no desire for a rebuilding project, despite his Phillies entering Wednesday night 10 games under .500 and being old in several areas.