Contract Extension for Utley Is A Bad Deal for Philadelphia Phillies
Any day now, the Philadelphia Phillies and Chase Utley could come to a two-year contract extension for roughly $13 million per year. Could and should are two completely different arguments, though, with cold logic on the side of one.
That would be a good move for the Phillies’ most popular player, who will probably play well in the city, but it would be another setback for the franchise. The simple reason is that the Phillies have too much money tied up in too many of their older players as it is, with Jimmy Rollins getting a three-year deal last year and Ryan Howard having four more years to go on his contract.
Phillies general manger Ruben Amaro Jr. is coming off a deadline where he could not deal anyone. Some of the pieces that he could deal, Rollins and Michael Young, handcuffed his ability to deal them by limiting the number of places where they would agree to go. In Rollins’ case, it was zero. In Young’s case, it was two. Amaro got low-ball offers on Cliff Lee and Young and decided not to pull the trigger on a deal.
Signing Utley now would tie his hands even further. At the end of this month, Utley will be a five-and-10 guy and also have the ability to limit his trading options. Furthermore, the Phillies have a major league-ready second baseman now in 23-year-old Cesar Hernandez. Chances are good that the Phillies could get Utley quality from Hernandez at a bargain-basement price, freeing up money to improve the club now. They need to make room for their top young prospects like Hernandez and re-signing Utley would eliminate that room.
That’s the move the Phillies have to make; at least wait until the end of the season before trying to trade him or allow him to test the open market. It might not be a popular move with the fans, but it’s the right one.
Mike Gibson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.