As we’ve talked about before, Ruben Amaro may do something very foolish and overpay the aging, oft-injured Utley.
No doubt there’s a value associated with Chase* – from a marketing standpoint – that can’t be measured by those outside the organization. But still, paying Utley upwards of $45 million, at this point in his career, is foolish. It’s not that the Phillies don’t have the money… it’s that they have a seemingly self-imposed salary cap at the luxury tax threshold (which will jump to $189 million next season). Using $15 (or so) million per year on Utley wouldn’t be wise. Even more misguided would be considering him untouchable and a “franchise player.”
Chase Utley is unavailable — at least at the moment.
Two general managers with interest in the Phillies star say the Phillies have informed them that Utley isn’t going anywhere.
The Phillies are trying to sign Utley to an extension, as they consider him their “franchise player,” and there’s hope it can get done since Utley is said to love the Phillies. While Philadephia is listening on other star players — including Cliff Lee — they are apparently focusing today only an extension for Utley.
Some have suggested Carlos Beltran‘s $26 million, two-year deal is a reasonable template for Utley considering their status as stars who’ve had knee issues, but Phillies GM Ruben Amaro’s comments that he’d like to make Utley a “Phillie for life” suggest he may be considering at least three years.
If there’s one player to get sentimental about, it’s Chase. No argument there. But there comes a point where you wonder if Amaro is sentimental about locking up Utley… or just an idiot who still considers a 34-year-old with knee problems a player to build around.
The Phillies need to move on, and they need to do it now. They’re stuck with Ryan Howard. There’s no reason to further prolong the slow death of the World Fucking Champions by overpaying Chase.**
Plus, the Phils are probably stuck with Jonathan Papelbon, too. At least if you believe Matt Gelb of Philly.com:
Papelbon has no choice. The Phillies signed him to the richest contract for a reliever in baseball history. Other teams, more cognizant of a closer’s true value, recognize that folly. He heads a bullpen that owns a 4.14 ERA since his arrival. Papelbon is due at least $30 million from now until the end of 2015. It could be more because of a vesting option for 2016.
Good luck trading that.
Teams are well aware of Papelbon’s surly clubhouse disposition. It was kept a secret by Boston for years, but his reputation is fully understood throughout baseball. The Phillies, a team that prides itself on its character evaluation of free agents, deemed Papelbon’s personality as secondary to his talent.
Like I said this morning, the Phillies jumped the shark when the signed Papelbon. There’s no use in handing out more contracts they’re going to regret. Hell, they just gave up to $60 million to a guy who who defected to Mexico in February.
I like Chase, and perhaps this is just a matter of semantics, but in what world is he still considered a “franchise player”?
*It goes against convention to use first names only, but I use “Chase” and “Utley” interchangeably. Because we’re best friends.
**I can’t believe that I’m actually arguing against keeping Chase. It’s like rooting for newborns to have airway problems. It goes totally against everything I stand for. But he shouldn’t get more than a two-year deal elsewhere. I could actually see the Phillies giving him four years and further prolonging their downturn. That makes no sense.