A couple quick takes on Chase Utley's pending extension with the Phillies:
--Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley likes the deal.
--So does Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.
As Dave writes of the base two-year, $27 million part of the deal:
This is basically the going market rate for players who have been productive but come with age and health concerns. Only there’s one primary difference between (Torii) Hunter, (Ryan) Dempster, (Carlos) Beltran, and Utley; the Phillies second baseman is a lot better than any of the other three.
Here are the totals for the prior three seasons for each of those players prior to signing their free agent contracts:
Beltran, 2009-2011: 1,210 PA, 140 wRC+, -14 UZR, +7.9 WAR
Hunter, 2010-2012: 1,879 PA, 123 wRC+, +8 UZR, +10.8 WAR
Dempster, 2010-2012: 591 IP, 3.87 FIP, 3.74 xFIP, +8.5 WAR
And here’s what Utley has done over the last three calendar years.
Utley, 2011-2013: 1,355 PA, 118 wRC+, +25 UZR, +11.8 WAR
Of course, even if he's healthy, Utley doesn't solve the Phillies' biggest problem: They've allowed the second-most runs in the NL. And considering only the Rockies have allowed more and have to pitch in Coors Field, the Phillies arguably have the worst pitching/defense in the league. To think that just two years ago they had one of the best staffs in NL history.