The Phillies waited. And waited. And then despite hanging around the team for a bit, Carlos Ruiz went home to Panama. I really thought that they would have a deal done before he left, but once he did, things did not look so great. Now a free agent after the Phillies declined to make Ruiz a $14.1 million qualifying offer, the Colorado Rockies reportedly really want Carlos Ruiz.
They also continue pursing free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, who has several suitors, including the Philadelphia Phillies. The Rockies, interested in upgrading their defense and getting more at-bats for Wilin Rosario at first base and possibly the outfield, are expected to offer a multiyear deal this week.
Depending what "multi-year" means, the Phillies may not want to match. The Phillies' catching depth in their system has no obvious starter right now, but they probably still have high hopes for prospect Tommy Joseph. Joseph was aquired as the centerpiece of the Hunter Pence trade in 2012. However, 2013 was virtually non-existent for Joseph after suffering the repercussions of a concussion. Had Joseph been ready, this would be an easier situation.
The Phillies probably would not want to go beyond two years for Ruiz, considering his age. A longer commitment to Ruiz leaves little room for Joseph to grow into the position if all goes well.
So who could replace Ruiz? I have no clue. Maybe the Phillies don't either. The free agent class of catchers includes Brian McCann and then a bunch of underwhelming names. The Phillies in theory could go after McCann, but that is yet another left-handed bat in a lineup that already includes left-handers Domonic Brown, Ben Revere, Cody Asche, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley. That is a lot of lefties and a lot of money. The Texas Rangers are going to go hard after McCann and the Red Sox could have interest, too, so he may never be available.
Beyond McCann, the next best name is Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and I am particularly underwhelmed by that name. In fact, the Red Sox do not appear to be particularly interested in bringing him back and the team won the World Series. The Red Sox did not play Saltalamacchia after his questionable throw helped cost the Red Sox a win. (Remember the Cardinals walk-off interference play? It would not have happened if Saltalamacchia held onto the ball.)
A.J. Pierzynski could be a fit, I suppose. He is turning 37 years old next month and would be a short-term deal. But the Yankees may be interested, so they'll probably get him. I want no part of Dioner Navarro. Maybe the Phillies could acquire someone such as Chris Iannetta in a trade. Iannetta is with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and may be expendable.
In terms of Chooch, it's not looking too good for the Phillies. The Phillies let him hit the open market and he's probably going to find much more than the Phillies are willing to give him. If they had offered him that, he would still be a Phillie.