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Phils give Chase Utley a 7 year, $85 million extension

Well, I guess the Phils won't be going to arbitration with Chase Utley.

Philadelphia has given Utley a 7 year, $85 million contract extension. This buys out three arbitration years and four free agency years.

Utley had asked for $6.25 million in arbitration, and was offered $4.5 million.

If you figure he'd get about $5.5 million for 2007 (assuming a settlement), $8 million for 2008 and $11 million for 2009 (assuming he stays healthy and productive), the Phillies paid him a little more than $15 million per year for his free agency years.

I don't know that this is a smart move for the Phillies. Utley wasn't going to be eligible for free agency until after his age 30 season, so they are paying a huge premium, well in advance, for his age 31-34 seasons, when he presumably will be heading into decline. And second basemen generally don't age very well anyway.

Seems like a lot of risk on the Phillies' part. You'd think that, after the Bobby Abreu trade, and the futile effort to move Pat Burrell and his contract, they'd be a little more leery of making these sorts of super-long-term commitments.