One of the biggest offseason priorities for the Philadelphia Phillies is adding reliable arms in their bullpen. Signing a big-name replacement for closer Craig Kimbrel is one to help this unit, but Philly should explore all possibilities to improve this group.
That includes taking chances on some veterans, and Dave Dombrowski has done just that with his latest move.
Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports the Phillies have signed reliever Jose Ruiz to a minor league deal. This contract includes an invite to Spring Training, where Ruiz will compete to make the Opening Day roster.
This is an interesting flier for Dombrowski to take. Ruiz made his MLB debut in 2017 and went on to appear in 212 games for the San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks since making it to the big leagues.
Ruiz played a big role out of the White Sox's 'pen from 2021-2022, racking up 122 appearances over those two years. He threw for a solid 3.05 ERA in 2021 across 65.0 innings while recording 63 strikeouts and 25 walks. The righty turned up the gas in 2022 with a mark of a whopping 10.7 K's per nine innings, though his ERA jumped to 4.70 across 60.2 frames.
Ruiz again struggled with his effectiveness in relief over this past season, most of which was spent with the NL champion D-Backs. He logged a 4.43 ERA in 40.2 innings after being traded early on from Chicago, and Arizona DFA'd him in late July, which ended his run in the majors.
At the very least, Ruiz provides some possible experienced depth to evaluate in-person at Spring Training. Signing him to a minor league deal comes with basically zero risk, so it's worth seeing if he can't regain his 2021 form and help out this bullpen.
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