The Philadelphia Phillies have had recent talks with second baseman Chase Utley about a contract extension, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhiladelphia. While the Dodgers, Blue Jays and Royals have been linked to Utley in trade rumors, Salisbury notes that Philadelphia is not listening to trade offers for the 34-year old.
Utley is in the final year of the seven-year, $85 million contract that he signed before the 2007 season, and will be one of the most coveted free agents if he hits the market this winter. According to Salisbury, the Phillies' are planning to move forward with Utley as one of the faces of the franchise, and have planned promotions centered around him for the week after the trade deadline passes.
At 34, Utley will likely be in line for a contract in the ballpark of the 3-year, $45 million one that Philly.com's David Murphy suggested this morning. In 72 games on the season, Utley is hitting .286 with 13 HR and 36 RBI.
The Phillies have told teams that they are not willing to sell key assets, but their recent struggles may change their thinking. While Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee and Carlos Ruiz are almost guaranteed to stay put, third baseman Michael Young may be on the move. The 36-year old has drawn interest from many teams including the Red Sox, Yankees and Reds.