Courtesy Phillies Facebook Page
Carlos Ruiz is in town. The Phillies' Facebook page posted a photo of Ruiz in a Flyers cap, probably taken today, since he was not seen with a Flyers hat when he was hanging around the Phillies clubhouse earlier this week. With Ruiz hanging around, is a contract imminent for the Phillies backstop?
Carlos Ruiz wants to be a Phillie:
"I would like to stay here and finish my career here," Ruiz said. "But at the same time, this is the big leagues. I hope I can finish here, but if I have to go somewhere else. . . . I'd definitely like to stay and wear one uniform. Like I've always said, it's not in my hands."
The Phillies want Carlos Ruiz to be a Phillie:
"We'd like to bring him back," Amaro said. "He knows we'd like to bring him back. We'll see what happens. It wouldn't be the first free agent [we've had]. … I'd like to have as much balance [in the lineup] as we can, we haven't been very good against left-handers. It's well documented."
So what is taking so long?
Probably money. It would be easy to say that Ruiz has given the Phillies more production than he has been worth over the last several years, earning just $8.85 million over 2010, 2011, and 2012 combined. In 2013, earned $5 million. After a 25-game suspension for testing positive for Adderall without appropriate doctor's certification, Ruiz was up and down. Was Ruiz the guy who hit .333 with four home runs and 11 RBI in August? Or is he the September form, where he hit .227 and finished the year injured?
What do you pay someone with that 2013? We do not know publicly what the Phillies are offering or what Ruiz's agents are asking, but this is probably a hard contract to decide on. Ruiz's agents probably know the Phillies had him on the cheap for so long, and think out of respect the Phillies should assume some risk. The Phillies probably cannot afford too much risk.
I think a two-year deal is appropriate. Miguel Montero earned $10 million in 2013 to hit .230 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Russell Martin got $7.5 million from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both are younger than Ruiz. To get the deal done, the Phillies probably need to go two years and closer to Martin's number than Ruiz's $5 million in 2013. That should be doable.
One report said that Ruiz was staying in town until next weekend, when he returns to Panama. I would wager that the Phillies and Ruiz will have a press conference before then to announce a new contract.