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Phillies re-sign Carlos Ruiz to three-year contract

Nov 18, 2013, 11:45 AM EDT

Carlos Ruiz AP AP

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made it clear that the Phillies were prepared to move on to other catching options if Carlos Ruiz wanted to take his time making a decision, but that won’t be necessary as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Ruiz is re-signing with Philadelphia.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that it’s a three-year, $26 million contract, which is the type of commitment not often made to soon-to-be 35-year-old catchers coming off down seasons.

Ruiz was heavily linked to the Rockies right away this offseason and reports last week had him being offered at least $20 million over two years by some team. Troy Renck of the Denver Post says that team wasn’t the Rockies, who apparently offered Ruiz a two-year, $15 million deal with a 2016 option.

Ruiz, who’s spent his entire eight-season career with the Phillies, sat out the first 25 games on suspension this year and then hit .268 with five homers and a .688 OPS for his worst production since 2008. He did, however, hit well during the final two months.

UPDATE: Gelb says the three-year deal also includes a fourth-year team option for 2017, when Ruiz will be 38 years old.

UPDATE #2: Ruiz’s contract includes $500,000 bonuses for each season if he starts 125 or more games at catcher. His career-high? 113.

  1. cruuuzcontrol - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Inquiring minds must know… Was Ruben able to resist giving him a no-trade clause?

    • CJ - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Does it matter? Those terms alone are a better no trade clause than even a no trade clause itself.

    • uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      This just appeared on MLBTR:

      10:57am: ESPN’s Jayson Stark provides a breakdown of the contract (on Twitter). Ruiz will earn $8.5MM annually from 2014-16, and the fourth-year option is for $4.5MM with a $500K buyout. The contract includes a very limited no-trade clause, as Ruiz is able to block deals to four clubs.

      • missthemexpos - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        I wonder what 4 clubs?

      • CJ - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        I would guess the only 4 other teams that even remotely could afford him at that salary. The no trade clause is irrelevant, that contract is untradeable in and of itself.

  2. uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    WOW, either the Phillies know something or MLBTR totally missed the mark on Ruiz in their player profile. They predicted a 2 year/$14MM deal for Ruiz, that’s a big, big difference from 3 years/ $26MM for a catcher who will turn 35 in January.

    • deep64blue - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Er it’s Ruben Amaro, that’s all you need to know …..

    • scatterbrian - Nov 18, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      Option #3: The Phillies front office is stupid.

  3. phillysports1 - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA HEY RUBEN IM 35 and I can play the outfield , I had a good season last year can you sign me ?? LMAO

  4. Youknowimright - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    (said in the field of dreams voice)

    If you juice him, he’ll be good.

  5. octom - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Let’s see what Salty and McCann get.

  6. JMClarkent - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Amaro is the worst GM in sports, bar none…

    • sisisisisisisi - Nov 18, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      NO WAY

      Jerry Jones is way worst

      and don’t count out the Knicks front office

  7. Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Ah, Ruin Tomorrow, Jr. strikes again.

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      At this rate it’s Ruin Tomorrow and the Day after Tomorrow Jr. An enterprising fan can certainly come up with a great poster depicting Ruben in Antartic Gear trudging over a frozen wasteland and the zoom out features a white, dead Citizen’s Bank Park.

  8. paperlions - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    C’mon now…this deal isn’t that bad. Would you rather have 1 year of Ryan Howard or 3 years of Ruiz? Because those have about the same price tag, so this is a step in the right direction, isn’t it? I mean, you can’t expect a guy that pretty much always signs guys for too many years AND at too high an AAV to suddenly stop doing that altogether, can you?

    Ruiz has been one of baseball’s best catchers the last 5 years. Good defender and solid at the plate. Of course he’ll be declining some over those 3 years, but he seems pretty likely to provide decent value since he has multiple above average skills and ways to contribute to winning.

    • CJ - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      Contracts are not lifetime achievement awards. Every good team in baseball pays for future performance, not past.

      I get brain cramps reading “well, at least this wasn’t as bad as the last time RAJ overpaid on past performance”. It’s the same mistake, only this is more egregiously paying a declining player, than what we knew Howard to be at that time. Of course, you’re right, it could be worse, he could’ve paid Ruiz $25M per over 5, if you’re choosing to look at it that way, yeah this is way better.

      • paperlions - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        FAs are expensive. Nearly ever FA deal is considered an overpay when it is signed, even deals that turn out to be a steal. Last year everyone said Pittsburgh overpaid for Russel Martin, turns out that was the FA steal of the year.

        Of course it isn’t a lifetime achievement award. But Ruiz is still a plus defensive catcher and hit well in the 2nd half. It is highly likely that this deal looks just fine in 2 or 3 years compared to most of the FA deals that are coming.

        Ruiz is likely to be a top 10 catcher when considering offense, defense, and playing time over the next couple of years….that is easily worth $10M+/year.

      • CJ - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Is that with or without Adderall? How many top ten catchers can you think of on the wrong side of 35 in the last, say 60 years that, like Chooch, won’t end up in the hall of fame? Any?

        I’m a Philly fan as much as anyone, and Chooch is a nice piece on a contender. But if this was their intent, they shouldn’t have let him get to FA. You don’t overpay your own guys just because you were foolish enough to not lock them up, and then use that as an excuse to overpay…there’s value in security, and there’s risk in playing out a contract. Ruiz deserves the rate he got for one year, sure, maybe two from someone else, but this was the wrong move at the wrong time. Take the sentiment out of it, and you’ll see the same.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        It’s just over $8M a year for 3 years for an above average hitting catcher. Am I misreading the reports on the contract?

      • CJ - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        You have the contract right, you just misread his birth date, apparently.

      • paperlions - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        Lots: Molina, McCann, Montero, Martin, Mauer (before moving to 1B, but he is 6’5″), Ellis….none of those guy are Ruiz’s age though. The deal is probably too long by a year, but it is also a relatively low AAV for what Ruiz brings to the table. Catcher defense is very important and teams value it much more appropriately than do fans.

      • CJ - Nov 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        did you miss the over 35?

        I value defense in my catcher plenty. He’ll be more offensive than defensive at the age or 38-39 when this thing is done. Let’s be clear: I don’t mind them signing him, I don’t mind them signing him at that AAV, I sure do mind signing him for 3-4 years, however.

        What comparables are out there to him as a + defensive catcher in his late 30s that worked out? Even Pudge was a shell of himself at that age. I just don’t get how this can be considered a good move. At 35 he’s a lock to miss a month + each season on average. What’s that look like at 36, 37, 38? Any way you cut it, minus the sentiment, this is just not a good move.

        If they were the BoSox, sure, if they’re a contender, sure I get that. Is this team in contention as it is? Take McCann from the Braves and sure I guess they have a shot at the division almost by default, but it’s not like they’re going anywhere from there. Don’t have the bats, don’t have the bullpen.

    • greymares - Nov 18, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      not to mention Ruiz only has 9 yrs of catching on his 35 yr old body, considerably less than most catchers his age.Plus the Philly catching position took a big hit this season, the cupboard is bare. It’s not my money i like it and lately i don’t see not having money a reason for not signing anyone they wanted. wait until the uproar when they resign Doc.

  9. chiadam - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

  10. chip56 - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Wow…I mean…wow….

  11. ezthinking - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    The Rockies need to send a serious wine and cheese basket to the Phills for saving their ass on this one.

  12. scotttheskeptic - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    With no internal options, Amaro was going to have to overpay for a catcher. Better the devil we know.
    And I have begun to view 8-10 million as an average wage for a post-arbitration player.

  13. scotttheskeptic - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    The overpay is in the years.

    • paperlions - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Exactly (on both posts). The last year of almost every FA looks bad. The good thing about this deal is that it is probably an under-pay at the front end, which could even it out. Many FA contracts are an over-pay from year 1 and just get worse over time.

  14. pastabelly - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    The deal only makes sense if the Phillies believe themselves to be a contender in the next two years because that this pretty much means that a developing catcher in the system won’t be able to see any serious starts until 2016. The Red Sox are looking for a 2-3 bridge for a catcher before their two prospects were ready and probably would have overpaid for 2 years of Ruiz in the same way many believed they overpaid for 3 years of Victorino, 2 years of Gomes, and 1 year of Napoli and Drew (and a year of Uehara with a club option for a second year). Maybe two years of Ruiz at $18 million total would have made sense for the Red Sox.

  15. mikedi33 - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Phils were kind of forced to overpay. The way the lineup sets up a RH catcher is essential. Tommy Joseph the heir apparent will probably have to move another position due to concussions. Also, a Spanish speaking catcher was needed to communicate with the Cuban free agent pitcher they just signed. And if Byrd is worth 8 million in todays market then 8.5 for a premium position is not out of line.

  16. aphillieated - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCH!!!

  17. ochospantalones - Nov 18, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    I love Chooch, if the Phillies are going to massively overpay someone (and obviously they will) I’d rather it be him than someone like A.J. Pierzynski. But there is really no way to justify this deal. It’s not enough money to be a franchise-crippler like Howard’s deal, but the thought process here is mind-boggling. Just more evidence that RAJ has no idea what he is doing.

  18. tuberippin - Nov 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    One too many years for my tastes (and I don’t like that club option for 2017 either), but it’s gotten to the point where people rag on Amaro simply for the sake of ragging on Amaro. As a big Phillies fan, I strongly dislike Amaro and his idiotic tendencies, but in such an instance it’s somewhat undeserved.

    This was not a horrendous signing. Ruiz does a great job with the pitching staff and he’s not a bad hitter either. He’s very similar to Miguel Montero, who got a 6yr/$66mil deal last season. Montero is five years younger than Ruiz, but he has never been as good of a hitter nor as good of a defensive catcher as Ruiz; Montero fell off the map at the plate last year (worst offensive season since his rookie year in 2007), and he’s getting $10-11mil a year.

    You can bet Saltalamacchia will be getting significantly more than either of these guys and Salty is not nearly as good of a catcher from a defensive standpoint as either of the aforementioned catchers.

  19. phillysports1 - Nov 18, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Phillies front office worst in all sports lol .

    • sisisisisisisi - Nov 18, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      JERRY jones is WAY worst

  20. mrbaseball2013 - Nov 18, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    This is not a bad signing, however, Ruben is the king for giving out extra years to aging players. Pat Gillick handed Ruben a World Series winner and tons of money to spend. Ruben’s team has finished worse and worse in each year since. He has run this team into the ground. Marlon Byrd’s best year was last year. Outside of last year he was average at best. (and he is old, too) Ruben loves the old veterans. (Utley, Howard, Rollins, Ruiz) This team needs to get younger!!!! I guarantee Ruben signs Halladay. It’s like your old girlfriend that doesn’t excite you anymore but you hate to see her with anyone else. That’s Halladay.
    Ruben is clueless. He hasn’t had a decent bullpen or bench since he took over. And he still can’t find a pitching coach.

  21. ChandlerMc - Nov 19, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    Ruben Amaro can’t seem to let go of aging, past-their-prime players. Phillies have a major league ready catcher in Tommy Joseph (acquired in Hunter Pence trade with SF). He gave Marlon freaking Byrd $16M for 2 yrs which makes Darin Ruf the odd man out. I’m so sick of Ruben overspending for old men when there’s plenty of young cheaper talent waiting in the wings.

    • scotttheskeptic - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      Tommy Joseph is NOT Major League ready. Missed a huge chunk of last season with concussion and post-concussion symptoms. It is easy to bash Amaro, as he is low-hanging fruit, but the catcher situation has not played out well – Joseph: concussion(s); Valle: major regression, etc… This is one mess that is not directly Amaro’s fault.

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