How Chris Wheeler Got Chase Utley 85 Million Dollars
It is widely known now that Chase Utley just negotiated a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for 7 years, 85 million dollars. What is not widely know is just how this came about, and who was behind it. I'm here to break the news for everyone reading at home, and those in the media: Christopher Wheeler, broadcaster, funnyman, and general baseball expert, helped bring the Phillies and Utley together for this deal. Yes folks, Wheels himself got this contract going. Here's the story.
It was late December, Christmas time, and Chris was sitting at home by the fireplace in his mansion in suburban Philadephia when he recieved a call from Phillies President Dave Montgomery.
"Hey Chris, what's happening?"
"Oh not much Dave. Just sitting here thinking about all the children in the world in poverty, and what I, Chris Wheeler, can do to help. The rug and I were thinking that we could start a charity, but couldn't come up with a good name."
"That's great thinking Chris. Perhaps Wheeler's Dealers or something?! Who knows, who really cares Chris. I need you right now."
"Come on Dave, I already told you that I'm flattered but I don't go that way."
"That's not what I meant. But thanks again for being gentle with me. No, the reason I called you was because I need your advice about this upcoming arbitration stuff. I'm going to give the reins to Ruben on this thing, instead of Pat. But what I needed to know was if you could sway Chase to staying with the Phils for a hometown discount."
"Well...first thing is that it's great to hear you say you're using Ruben. I know he's definitely your first choice for GM once ol' Gillick retires, and it'll be a great one. Second thing is that I'll definitley talk to Utters. Thing is, I'm not going to sway him to the Phils."
"You're not?! But but but, we need you Chris!"
"No, I'm not. What I am willing to do is demand that he stays with the Phillies, and that he settles down and finds him a nice woman, like I did with Rug."
*Dave chuckles * "Oh Chris, you had me for a second! Oh you!"
So Wheels decided he'd help the Phils keep his favorite new player. Utters had really shown him something during 2006, especially when he came over to Chris' house to get some batting tips. Right after, he went on a 35 game hit streak, and his dedication and late night sessions with Wheels really paid off. Wheels himself told me that he had to help a guy like Utters, a guy who was a real ballplayer and just fun to watch.
It was January 1st and Chase had a raging headache from the night prior. No, it wasn't from drinking in the New Year; instead, the pain coincided with his choice to run 10 miles in the cold. This was the heart and drive he learned from his mentor Chris Wheeler. Chase's fiancee Heidi became a bit concerned when he told her of his late night run, but completely understood once she became aware of from the idea came. Chris had dropped by the home on New Year's Eve.
Chase and Chris were almost inseperable for the past several months, and would let Heidi along for the ride once in a while. She accepted this, because she knew in her heart and hearts that Chris would make her man a better ballplayer and a better person. She saw what he did with Scott Rolen, and then what happened once Scott had stopped listening to CW (what Chase called his buddy). She wasn't about to let Chase screw this up.
Chase knew the legend of Wheels, and was excited when he picked Chase as his chosen one. So Chase understood and agreed to the idea that he HAD to re-sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. It was just a matter of for how much and for how long.
"Chase, you have to sign with these guys. They're going to make a huge splash in the free agent market. I'm almost certain they will get a big-time catcher and center fielder. If you stay long-term, you'll be like the late 90s Yankees."
"I know, I know. But I want to make sure I'm not screwed in this. What if I get hurt and am never the same again? I want to make sure my contract is long enough so that I have enough guaranteed."
"No worries Chase, no worries. I'll make certain they give you enough. All you have to do is sign power of attorney over to me. There's no need for you to have an agent when you have me."
"True, true. You've never steered me wrong before. And you have much better stories about all the ballplayers you've met."
All of this led to the eventual 7 year deal. However, the entire ordeal would not go as smoothly as hoped. The malcontent in left field, Pat Burrell, got a hold of Chase only days before he was to sign his big contract.
For the first severals years of his career, Pat Burrell had been beloved in Philadelphia. He hit well between the lines and at the bars. He lived in the city. Fans bought his jersey. He even got his own big contract early in his career.
But then he suffered a horrible season in 2003. The cheers turned to indifference. The indifference turned to boos. He tried his best, but it was never good enough. He even bounced back nicely in 2005, hitting for power, and getting on base an impressive amount. He even suffered through injuries in 2006 but had another decent year. But it wasn't enough for the fans, or for managment. Down the stretch, he heard complaints about strike outs. He heard it about not hitting in the clutch, despite a great 2005 during the same times, and a good overall career in those instances. He heard it about defense. But he was hurt, Pat thought! What more could he do? What did these fans want out of him? Did he need to be Joe DiMaggio or Albert Pujols to get any love? What would be expected of Chase once he signed a big contract?
Pat tried to warn him.
"Chase, look at what these fans are doing to me. I've put up some pretty good numbers the past two years, both on and off the field, and they're crucifying me!"
"But Pat, they love me. I have dirt on my uniform. I LOOK like I'm going all-out when I run. And, best of all, I have CW by my side. Where CW goes, so go I."
"Oh that's crap! Chris Wheeler is an idiot with a rug on his head! He laughs like a hyena at his own jokes and thinks he knows everything about a sport he never played! Fuck him!"
"Wow, just wow Pat. I don't even know you anymore man. Insult me if you want, insult my fiancee, even my mother. But Wheels? How dare you sir. How dare you. I'll be your teammate, but I won't be your friend. This conversation is over."
And with that, Chase called up 'CW' and informed him that he would be signing with the Philadelphia Phillies for whatever money Chris and the organization decided on. And Chris Wheeler had now ensured the future of another superstar.
disclaimer: conversations may or may not have actually taken place