The Philadelphia Phillies declined to trade second baseman Chase Utley in July, preferring to negotiate an extension with him and make him, in the words of general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., a “Phillie for life.”
Mission nearly accomplished.
The Phillies are close to signing Utley to a two-year extension with multiple vesting options, according to major-league sources. The total guaranteed money in the deal will be in the “high 20s,” one source said — between $25 million and $30 million.
CBS Sports reported that the base of the deal is two years, $27 million.
Utley, who will turn 35 on Dec. 17, is in the final year of a seven-year, $85 million contract. His extension would be for 2014 and '15 — and possibly beyond if he stays healthy, sources said.
Such a deal seemed difficult to imagine before the start of this season. Utley, due to a variety of knee problems and right thumb surgery in 2010, averaged only 100 games the previous three years.
This season, though, has been different.
Utley missed nearly a month due to a strained right oblique, but his knees have not been an issue, and he has appeared in 84 of the Phillies' 113 games.
The Phillies selected Utley out of UCLA with the 15th overall pick in the 2000 draft. He is a five-time All-Star and a career .287 hitter with an .874 OPS.
He entered Wednesday night’s play batting .275 with an .841 OPS this season.