Phillies re-sign C Carlos Ruiz to big deal

Phillies re-sign C Carlos Ruiz to big deal
November 18, 2013, 5:30 pm
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Construction for Nats youth baseball academy nearly complete

The Philadelphia Phillies made a move on Monday that both signals their intent to keep their current team together, and perhaps a preference for older veterans.

Catcher Carlos Ruiz has re-signed with the Phils for a reported three-year, $26 million contract. The deal also includes a full team option for the fourth year.

Ruiz, who will be 35 on Opening Day, will need to bounce back in a big way from his disappointing 2013 season to justify the money. In 2012 he received MVP votes and made the All-Star team with a .325 average in 114 games. Last season he hit just .268, played in only 92 games and served a suspension for performance enhancing drugs. 

Ruiz also got MVP votes in 2010 and 2011, so maybe last year was the aberration. He is, however, old for any position player, much less a catcher. A.J. Pierzynski was the only player older than 33 who started at least 100 games at catcher last season.

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Ruiz may not be the only catcher the Phillies sign this offseason, as no one behind 'Chooch' has proved himself capable. Last year Philly saw Erik Kratz bat .213 through 68 games and 24-year-old Cameron Rupp hasn't exactly distinguished himself. The former third round pick has a career .258 average in the minors and doesn't hit for power, either.

The Phillies are probably better off keeping Ruiz, but they paid a lot to do so. They were probably intent on re-signing him only to see the price driven up by interest around the league. It is also considered a very thin free agent market for catchers. This should only raise the cost of signing Brian McCann for whatever team wants to bring him in.