It was no secret that the Phillies and Chase Utley were working on a contract extension. Sunday, the two sides finalized things with the result being a seven-year, $85 million deal that will keep Utley in a Phillies uniform through the 2013 season.
Utley was eligible for arbitration and the two sides had exchanged numbers, but neither side figured to go before an arbitrator. The deal means that Utley will now be eligible for free agency after the 2013 season rather than after the 2008 season.
The Phillies still have Geoff Geary and Brett Myers eligible for arbitration. They will talk with Myers about a potential long-term deal, but probably nothing in the area of what Utley received. Earlier this off-season, the Phillies signed Ryan Madson to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration with him. Ryan Howard isn't eligible for arbitration, but is hoping to get a long-term deal from the Phillies, although they have said that signing Howard long-term isn't a priority at this point since he can't become a free agent until after the 2011 season.