Sun. Aug 7th, 2022

It was quite a weekend for Chase Utley. The All-Star second basemen was married on Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday he became one of the highest paid second basemen in Major League Baseball. Avoiding Arbitration, the Philadelphia Phillies and Utley agreed to terms on a seven year contract worth upwards of $85 million. Utley made just over $500,000 a year ago. The move ensures that Utley, who hit 32 home runs and drove in 102 runs a season ago, will anchor the middle of the infield at Citizens Bank Park for years to come.

With the extension, the Phillies have locked up three of their four starting infielders until at least 2008. The lone exception is Ryan Howard who made just $300,000 in 2006 while blasting 58 home runs and followed his Rookie Of The Year award in 2005 campaign by garnering the 2006 National League MVP trophy. Howard remains unsigned entering the start of spring training, though the Phillies hold his exclusive negotiating rights.

The Phillies brass had nothing but good things to say about their second basemen uon completing the extension; “We view Chase as not only a great second baseman but also one of the top 10-15 players in the game,” Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He’s a hard-nosed, full-throttle player who exemplifies the spirit of Philadelphia. He is tailor-made for this city and we couldn’t be happier to lock him up for years to come.”

It has yet to be seen where Charlie Manuel will place Utley in the batting order, though all signs point to the second basemen occupying the three hole behind Shane Victorino and Wes Helms. Regardless of where he hits in the lineup, Utley is a cornerstone for this franchise and will be so for the foreseeable future.

Utley is the type of player who can produce upwards of 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s each and every season. It is encouraging to see the Phillies spend the money necessary to keep a fan favorite power hitting second basemen in red pinsripes for years to come.

Now the Phils must turn their attention to their remaining arbitration eligible players; starting pitcher Brett Myers, and reliever Geoff Geary. Earlier in the week Philadelphia inked center fielder Aaron Rowand to a one year deal worth $4.35 million, avoiding salary arbitration with the fan favorite who notoriously broke his nose on the center field wall at Citizens Bank Park, making a game saving catch against the New York Mets last season.

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