Phillies rumors: Chase Utley contract extension in the works?

Hunter Martin

The Phillies reportedly talked with Utley's reps recently about working out a new deal.

Many believe that the Philadelphia Phillies should be sellers leading up to next week's trade deadline, but it is readily apparent that general manager Ruben Amaro does not share this view In fact, the Phillies may be working on a contract extension with veteran second baseman Chase Utley, reports Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly.

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Salisbury doesn't have any hard evidence on hand that a deal is being discussed -- the Phillies are typically tight-lipped about this sort of thing -- but he has put together a number of clues that he believes point in that direction.

First and foremost, he heard from "a person with knowledge of the situation" that the club held a recent conversation with Utley's representatives about a contract extension. While this doesn't mean a discussion is ongoing, it's certainly more than nothing.

Salisbury's other clues hover close to (and sometimes cross) the line of arranging puzzle pieces so they'll fit his desired narrative -- see: Utley is on the website! -- but one more is still worth noting.

The club has started moving its top second-base prospect, Cesar Hernandez, to other positions around the diamond in an attempt to broaden his utility skills. Speaking on the subject over the weekend, GM Ruben Amaro dropped Utley's name into the conversation: "If we’re fortunate enough to keep Chase in our uniform, which we hope to do, Cesar becomes a utility piece."

Salisbury seems to think that "which we hope to do" is an indication that the club is looking to drop a new contract on their aging second baseman. Your mileage may vary.

Utley, 34, is in the final season of his seven-year contract with the Phillies. The five-time All-Star battled chronic knee injuries for much of the last three years, but seems to finally be healthy this season. He is batting .286/.346/.520 with 13 home runs in 298 plate appearances on the year.

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