Chase Utley’s contract extension with the Phillies is officially a two-year, $27 million deal, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the second baseman can earn up to $75 million depending on what happens with vesting options.
According to Rosenthal the contract includes three vesting options for $15 million each in 2016, 2017, and 2018, which are triggered if Utley reaches 500 plate appearances in the previous season. Utley will be 35 years old in a couple months and hasn’t topped 500 plate appearances in a season since 2010, so it’s certainly an interesting contract that includes other incentives and buyouts that could bring it to a maximum of $75 million over five years.
If he stays healthy and effective the Phillies would gladly pay him $15 million per season, but the vesting options remove just about all the risk from the team’s point of view. Beyond paying him $27 million for ages 35 and 36, of course, which certainly carries plenty of risk in itself. Check out Rosenthal’s full breakdown for all the other details, including what happens if Utley doesn’t reach 500 plate appearances and the Phillies get team options for those years.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.