PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chase Utley’s new contract extension is only guaranteed to make him $27 million over two seasons. But if he stays healthy, which over the last few seasons is a big “if,” the deal could be worth almost three times that. The Phillies officially announced the extension on Thursday.
According to a report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, after getting a guaranteed $15 million in 2014, and $10 million in 2015, the Phillies could be out of the deal with a $2 million buyout if Utley does not reach specific parameters. The deal also comes with a full no-trade clause.
The Phillies confirmed the two guaranteed years, and the three vesting options, but not the dollar amounts.
“Chase epitomizes everything we expect our Phillies to be,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said. “As we’ve said before, we see Chase as a true Phillie for life. This contract moves us toward that end. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
“[Utley] also can earn an additional $5 million in ’15 if he is not on the DL for more than 15 days with specified knee condition,” Rosenthal writes. “The contract also includes a $2 million buyout and a full no-trade clause. 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.”
Fans often times wish that athlete’s contracts were based on performance. In the case of Utley’s deal, it isn’t performance so much as it is his health. If Utley stays healthy, he stays on the Phillies. This would seem like a good deal for the Phillies, because when Utley’s been healthy, he’s been the club’s best player.