The Philadelphia Phillies declined to trade second baseman Chase Utley in July preferring to negotiate an extension with him and make him in the words of general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. a “Phillie for life.”

Mission nearly accomplished.

The Phillies are close to signing Utley to a two-year extension with multiple vesting options according to major-league sources. The total guaranteed money in the deal will be in the “high 20s” one source said — between $25 million and $30 million.

Utley who will turn 35 on Dec. 17 is in the final year of a seven-year $85 million contract. His extension would be for 2014 and '15 — and possibly beyond if he stays healthy sources said.

Such a deal seemed difficult to imagine before the start of this season. Utley due to a variety of knee problems and right thumb surgery in 2010 averaged only 100 games the previous three years.

This season though has been different.