San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies

Chase Utley is a terrific ballplayer. A very, very good second baseman who consistently posts terrific numbers across the board. Chase Utley is turns 35 this year and has not played 120 games since 2009 – the last time the Phillies played in the World Series (where Chase Utley single-handedly kept them in the series against the Yankees, when he hit five home runs and walked four times in six games)

Despite playing little more than half his team’s games over the last four seasons, Chase Utley is still yet to post a season below 3 WAR. Because Chase Utley is a very good, you see. Due to hit free agency after this season, Chase Utley remains a member of the Phillies for two more years at least, thanks to the two-year contract extension the Phils second baseman inked last night.

Best tweet.

The terms of the deal not official but Jon Heyman reports the deal is two years worth $27 million, an incredible deal for a player as talented as Chutley – a player still posting more than 3 WAR per season even while missing more than 60 games a year. Even factoring in decline due to age, Chase Utley will not have a problem delivering the $27MM worth of value to the Phillies.

Dave Cameron of Fangraphs compared Utley to Carlos Beltran last night – a fantastically talented player who will inevitably miss time with injury. If you can swallow that, you can be happy with the Utley deal.

The nagging question for the Phillies is why? Reluctant as they are to trade established stars, the Phillies don’t appear close to competing for a playoff spot this year. There are countless questions around the diamond, questions their minor league pipeline cannot answer. Why sign Utley now? Is a 37-year old second baseman ever going to suit up in the playoffs for the Phillies again?

For Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., he has no choice but to answer “yes” to that question. By refusing to relent and rebuild, Amaro cannot afford not to keep Utley. Replacing a player of his quality is nearly impossible, as evidenced by the names and performances of the other players Philadelphia has run out in Utley’s absence.

With all the Phillies have invested in their starting rotation and closer, considering the amount of money they pay their first baseman, there is no turning back now for RAJ and the Phillies. Keeping Utley in the fold, with a contract reportedly laden with playing time incentives, is not a bad idea. A player they know and like stays with the only organization he’s ever known – this is never a bad thing.

The Phillies won’t likely return to the mountaintop before Utley’s career is over. The best player on those very good Phillies teams will retire one of the better players in franchise history. Barring a shocking turnaround, it is too bad this final contract will serve as more of a victory lap than a last shot at glory.

And the rest

Matt Harvey baseball pitcher extraordinaire. First complete game shutout of his career – the first of many, it says here.

The White Sox defeated the Yankees last night on a walkoff triple by Alejandro De Aza. Walkoff triples seem a little bit unusual, though we have already seen three this season.

Turns out we are in the golden age of walkoff triples. Three this season and three last season – six of the 22 total walkoff triples since 2000. For reference, there are have been more walkoff walks across that time frame than walkoff triples, four times as many #shrimpalerts in fact. Though across the last three seasons, we’ve seen 10 WoWs and 8 walkoff triples. PEAK TRIPLE IS UPON US!

Are you reading Gammons Daily, the new thing from Peter Gammons? You should be reading Gammons Daily. [Gammons Daily]

Nice look at what Dan Haren changed in his recent run of good play. [WaPo]


Gabe Kapler, man of insight [Baseball Prospectus (free)]

Cool infographic thing on the Yankees inability to get bang for their considerable bucks [New York Times]

You know what would help the Yankees get better bang for their buck? If they had drafted Mike Trout like they planned. [Grantland]

Bruce Rondon explodes radar guns [Brisbee Nation]

How did Chase Utley celebrate his new contract? By destroying poor Dionner Navarro in a home plate collision.