UPDATE, 8:01 p.m. ET: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman says the base of the deal is two years, $27 million. That’s pretty good value for a player like Utley.
7:32 p.m. ET: As first reported by CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury, the Phillies have reached agreement on a contract extension with second baseman Chase Utley. The specifics of the deal have not been made available, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is hearing that it will be a two-year pact in the high $20 million range with multiple vesting options.
There was talk of Utley being shopped at last month’s July 31 trade deadline, but the Philadelphia front office wound up selling no one and will try to build around the current crop of Phillies players.
Utley is in the final season of a seven-year, $85 million contract that he signed in January 2007. The 34-year-old is still a highly productive hitter, boasting a .275/.336/.505 batting line with 15 home runs and 42 RBI in 83 games this year. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. wasn’t kidding about not wanting to rebuild.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.
Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.
Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.
Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.
The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.