Phillies

Utley has a new deal and an old love for Philly

slideshow-080713-phillies-utley-uspresswire.jpg

Utley has a new deal and an old love for Philly

Several weeks ago, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. sat down with Chase Utley to talk about the second baseman’s future.

Amaro told Utley that he’d be willing to investigate trade opportunities if Utley wanted to move on.

He also told Utley that he was ready to discuss a contract extension if Utley wanted to forgo his impending free agency and remain with the Phillies.

That's the type of respect Utley has earned over a decade in red pinstripes: The Phillies let him call his shot.

Utley told Amaro he wanted to remain with the team that selected him in the first round of the 2000 draft and brought him to the majors in 2003.

And that’s how this all got started.

After several weeks of negotiations, the two sides reached agreement on a contract extension Wednesday, two sources tell CSNPhilly.com. The deal could be announced as soon as Thursday. Coincidentally, fans attending Thursday afternoon’s game against the Cubs will receive a poster with Utley’s picture and the words “Pride of the Phillies” on it.

Utley, who turns 35 in December, would not comment specifically on contract matters after Wednesday night’s game.

“There’s not a whole lot to say at this point,” he said. “When there is, or if there is, you guys will be the first to know.

“I love Philadelphia. I’ve always envisioned playing here. I’ve never envisioned playing anywhere else and I hope that remains a possibility.”

Utley’s extension will be for two years with at least one option, according to a source. The dollar amount was not clear, but something similar to St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran’s two-year, $26 million contract seems likely. CBS Sports said Utley was expected to get two years and $27 million. Utley is in the final year of a seven-year, $85 million contract. He made $15 million per season from 2010 to 2013.

There is risk to this deal. Utley missed significant time in 2011 and 2012 with a degenerative knee condition. He has not had a problem with his knees this season, though he did miss a month with a strained oblique.

“I've felt good since I came back last year,” Utley said. “I feel like the program that we’ve been doing has worked. I’ve been able to stay on the field for the most part and be fairly productive. I plan on continuing to do that.”

Utley, a five-time all-star, is considered the best second baseman in franchise history. His hard-nosed style of play has long made him a favorite of fans and club management. Amaro has frequently said he wanted to make Utley a Phillie for life.

This new contract is a step in that direction.

“Chase is pretty much the face of the franchise,” Cole Hamels said. “He does things right. He’s done things right since Day 1. He’s the typical Philly athlete and Philly ballplayer. He maxes out every day and you have to give him credit because it’s fun to watch. And being a teammate, I feel confident I’m playing with one of the best second basemen in the game, and I’m pretty happy that he’s still going to be here.”

Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

ap-gabe-kapler.jpg
AP Images

Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

Gabe Kapler on Friday added to his coaching staff by naming Jim Gott the Phillies' bullpen coach.

Gott was the minor-league pitching coordinator for the Angels the last five seasons and the pitching coach for the Arizona League Angels the three years prior to that role.

He played for the Blue Jays, Giants, Pirates and Dodgers over 14 major-league seasons as a starter and reliever. Gott, now 58 years old, compiled a 3.87 ERA while making 96 starts and converting 91 saves.

Kapler and the Phillies still need to name a pitching coach and first-base coach. Last week, they named Dusty Wathan third-base coach and hired John Mallee as hitting coach, while retaining Rick Kranitz, who was the assistant pitching coach last season (see story). He could fill the main pitching coach vacancy, although his role is currently to be determined.

In 2017, Bob McClure served the Phillies as pitching coach and Mickey Morandini was first-base coach.

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

stanton_altuve.jpg
USA Today Images

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

Houston Astros dynamo Jose Altuve has won the American League MVP award, towering over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin.

The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Altuve batted a major league-best .346. He hit 24 home runs with 81 RBIs, scored 112 times, stole 32 bases and showed a sharp glove at second base.

The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third. The award was announced Thursday.

Altuve helped lead the Astros to their first World Series championship. Voting for these honors was completed before the postseason began.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP award, barely edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

In the closest MVP vote since 1979, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. Stanton led the big leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs (see full story).

MLB: Manfred says pace changes will happen with or without union
Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

There are ongoing talks for a new posting system with Japan to replace the deal that expired Nov. 1, one that would allow star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani to leave the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters to sign with a big league team (see full story).

Mariners: Team makes trade, raises available money for Japan's Otani​
The Seattle Mariners have gained more flexibility if they want to try to sign star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani.

They acquired an additional $500,000 for their international signing bonus pool from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira.

Otani, a 23-year-old right-hander, would be limited to a minor league contract with a signing bonus under Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. The trade announced Thursday increases the Mariners' available money for a signing bonus to $1,557,500. Seattle has spent $3,942,500 on bonuses in the signing year that started July 2 from a pool that rose to $5.5 million with the trade.

The 24-year-old Vieira made his major league debut with a scoreless inning against Baltimore on Aug. 14, his only big league appearance. He was 2-3 with two saves and a 3.72 ERA in 29 games this year for Double-A Arkansas and 0-1 with two saves and a 4.58 ERA in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Chicago is restricted to a maximum $300,000 signing bonus because it exceeded its pool in a previous year under the old labor contract.