When Chase Utley killed Dioner Navarro on an Utley-induced collision at that plate last night, little did we know that Utley’s two-year, $27 million (plus a ton of vesting options) contract had not been signed yet and, perhaps more telling, that Utley wasn’t set to take his physical until this morning.
If you watch that GIF over and over and over and over and over again (the way I have for the last four hours), you’ll see Utley’s left knee curl up into his midsection like a shy kangaroo. But Chase didn’t care. There was a meaningless game to be
won lost. $27 million risk be damned.*
And it may have been more than $27 million that Utley risked. Once again, the bow tie man himself, little witty bitty baby Ken Rosenthal:
Chase Utley’s new two-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies is worth $27 million. But if the second baseman stays healthy, he can max out at five years, $75 million, according to major-league sources.
Utley, who turns 35 on Dec. 17, received three vesting options, each worth $15 million, on top of his two guaranteed years, sources said. Each of his options will vest at 500 plate appearances, a figure that Utley has not exceeded since 2009.
The formula for Utley’s vesting options is straightforward: He needs to reach 500 plate appearances in 2015 to guarantee himself a $15 million salary in ’16. The same math applies in ’16 and ’17, when Utley will be 39.
If Utley falls short of 500 plate appearances in any of those seasons, his option would revert to a conditional club option, sources said. The value of those options would range from $5 million to $11 million, depending upon how many days he spent on the disabled list the previous season.
That’s a substantial (and frightening) amount of money. But, only one second baseman over 35 has amassed aver 500 at-bats in a season since 2007– Marco Scutaro. In theory, if Chase were to play that much, he would be pretty damn productive… or the Phillies would continue to have no depth. One or the other.
Anyway, Chase Utley is the man.
*If that were me, I would have performed a passive skip around the bases to A) denote euphoria and B) avoid posing any threat to would-be taggers. Just me, skipping along. Nothing to see here. Of course, this might be why Chase Utley just signed a $27 million contract to play baseball and I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet today.