You can remove the qualifier "nominal" from his title; Chase Utley is the Phillies' leader now. After signing a seven year, $85 million extension to his contract, it would be difficult to determine who has shown more confidence here, the Phillies in their All-Star second baseman or he in them.
On cannot overstate the significance of their mutual commitment, but the feeling here is the agreement establishes a new milestone for the Phillies. Utley, a native Californian, has signalled to his adoptive home on the other coast that he is here to stay for the foreseeable future and believes in the direction the club is taking. At such a moment, it is hard not to look back on a previous rising star infielder who thought otherwise of the team's prospects and demanded a trade.
But we mustn't spoil the moment or wallow in what might have been. Utley plays the game all-out and in a city legendary for its blue collar allegiances, his approach not only plays well, it sits well.