Sunday, January 21, 2007

Phillies sign Utley to seven-year contract

Second baseman Chase Utley signed a seven-year, $85 million contract extension through 2013 with the Phillies, Assistant General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today. The contract covers Utley’s three remaining arbitration years and his first four years of free agency and is contingent upon him passing a physical.

“We view Chase as not only a great second baseman but also one of the top 10-15 players in the game,” said Amaro. “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.”

In 2006, Utley hit .309 with 40 doubles, 32 home runs, 102 RBI and 131 runs scored. He also put together a 35-game hitting streak (June 23-August 3), which tied for the 10th-longest in major league history and longest ever by a second baseman (Florida’s Luis Castillo). Utley became just the 15th player in major league history – and second Phillie – to compile a .300 average, 200 hits, 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 40 doubles and 130 runs in one season. He and Hall of Famer Chuck Klein (1930 & 1932) are the only Phillies to accomplish the feat.

Utley was the starting second baseman in the first-ever World Baseball Classic for Team U.S.A. last spring and was elected by the fans as the National League’s starting baseman for the All-Star team, in addition to being selected to the traveling All-Star team that played in Japan during the off-season.

Over the past two seasons (2005-06), Utley leads all major league second basemen in home runs (57), RBI (197), hits (350) and runs (217).

Utley was originally selected by the Phillies in the first round of the 2000 draft out of UCLA (15th overall). He has spent his entire professional career with the club and owns a .290 career average with 75 home runs and 285 RBI in 444 games.

**photo courtesy of AP**

No comments: