Chase Utley: I wasn't hurt, but now I'm better

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I keep saying that the extra days off are annoying, but on the bright side they give ballplayers a chance to mess with beat writers’ heads:

Is there anything wrong with your foot?” I asked Chase Utley yesterday.

“No,” he said.

“Is there anything wrong with your hip?”

“No,” he said.

“Would you tell us if there was?”

“Probably not.”

I wouldn’t tell them either.  Still, given Utley’s erratic play at second in the NLCS, there was a lot of speculation that he is or, at the very least was, in fact hurt.  Speculation that is supported by these kinds of statements from Utley:

“I think the days off right now are pretty special. You don’t have many days off during the regular season. You let your body relax, heal up. It’s a good thing.”

So there’s another silver lining to all of the days off. The injured (or not) Chase Utley is now healed (or not), and healthy ballplayers make for a better series.

At least until A-Rod slides in hard to second base on a would-be 6-4-3 and the throw goes wide . . .

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.