Carlos Ruiz overcame a rocky 2013 start that featured a 25 game PED suspension and a leg injury, to hit .268 with five homeruns, and drive in 37 runs. It’s a far cry from Ruiz’s All-Star season of 2012 where he hit .325, with 16 bombs, and 68 RBI’s, but with Ruiz’s glove behind the plate remaining top-notch, Ruiz proved that he can still be an above-average starting catcher, despite his dropoff at the plate.
With his contract set to expire, and the Phillies season expiring yesterday, it isn’t too early to start wondering about Ruiz’s future with the club.
Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro spoke highly about Ruiz Saturday, and made it sound like the Phillies intend on bringing Ruiz back in 2014.
“He is a priority, just because of the position,” Amaro said. “We don’t have anybody who is going to step in. [Cameron] Rupp has done a nice job. [Erik] Kratz, when he played, did OK. But I can’t anoint either one of those guys as an everyday catcher. I talked to [Ruiz]. He talked to me. I think mutually we would like to continue the relationship. But again, it takes two to tango. At some point we’ll get together, negotiate, and see where it goes.”
Ruiz is a fan favorite, and is still one of the best catchers behind the plate in the game. And I agree with Amaro, for once, that neither Kratz, Rupp, or anyone in the organization seems to be a fit as the team’s starting catcher in 2014. But he is 35, and the Phillies are already bringing back Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard, and to bring back another aging former start in his mid-30′s just doesn’t seem like a smart move to me.
Bringing Ruiz back would likely only require a one-year deal, which would be much better than giving say Brian McCann a four or five year deal, but there are other free agents like Jarrod Saltalamacchia that are younger and I would rather see the Phillies sign than bringing back Ruiz for another year.