Chase Utley’s extension with Phillies worth up to $75 million

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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.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.