Why Extending Chase Utley is a Smart Move by the Philadelphia Phillies

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Why Extending Chase Utley is a Smart Move by the Philadelphia Phillies
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Chase Utley isn't going anywhere, as the five-time All-Star second baseman signed a two-year extension Wednesday that will take him through the 2015 season with the Philadelphia Phillies.

ESPN reports: "The deal is worth $27 million for two seasons with multiple vesting options, sources told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark."

The deal didn't exactly come as a surprise; Utley has repeatedly said that he wants to remain in Philadelphia, and though there was growing speculation this year, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. did not trade the 34-year-old free agent-to-be at the trade deadline.

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While Utley has battled knee injuries in the past and is getting up there in age, there's no doubt that this is a great move for the Phillies.

Utley is batting .275 with 15 home runs and 43 RBI through 83 games and, at 34, remains among the top second basemen in Major League Baseball both at the plate and in the field:

Utley's productivity hasn't dipped at all in recent years, and that was seen once again Wednesday night, as he came in as a pinch-hitter mere hours after reaching the deal and knocked in a run against the Cubs:

Unfortunately, the Phillies lost once again, but Utley did his part once again.

Apart from his on-field contributions, his status as a major fan favorite is just as valuable to the franchise and undoubtedly played just as big a part in the $27 million investment/extension. Such fan favorites ensure that fans will always have reason to keep coming back even through tough times such as now.

Here are but a few of the immediate reactions in the Twittersphere after news broke of the deal:

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Now that the Phillies have secured their second base position for another couple seasons, the team will now need to focus on getting younger at other positions.

With Utley, Ryan Howard at first and Jimmy Rollins at shortstop, the team has three infielders who are 33 or older, and all three will be back for a few years.

Amaro made it perfectly clear that he does not want to undergo a rebuilding process just yet, and signing Utley to this $27 million extension proves that once again. Utley is no longer the cornerstone of the team's future (that's Domonic Brown), but he will surely continue to play a key role for the team in the coming years.

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