Nov 18 2013, 7:26pm CST | by Poch de la Rosa
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki confirmed the deal -- which is for three years and $26 million -- on the Phillies' official website on Nov. 18, citing a league source. Zolecki also adds,"The deal includes a $4.5 million club option or a $500,000 buyout for 2017. Ruiz also can make an additional $500,000 per season if he starts 125 games, something he has never accomplished in his 10-year big league career."
By earning $8.67 million annually, Ruiz beomes the fourth-highest-paid major league catcher behind the San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey ($18.56 million), the St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina ($15 million) and the Arizona Diamondbacks' Miguel Montero ($12 million), per ESPN's Jayson Stark. His new paycheck represents a significant increase from the $5 million he earned in 2013.
Ruiz's new contract also has a limited no-trade clause "which would allow him to block trades to four teams," Stark adds.
Ruiz was seriously being courted by the 2013 World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox. Other suitors included the Toronto Blue Jays and the Colorado Rockies. However, the Phillies made it clear they wanted to retain him, even throwing in a third guaranteed season for good measure.
Now that he is on board once again, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer offers his take on the re-signing.
"It is an expensive contract for an older player, but Ruiz plays a premium position and the Phillies lacked credible alternatives despite (Phillies general manager Ruben) Amaro's public insistence. The team preferred a right-handed bat for their lefty-laden lineup. Ruiz will be cheaper than Brian McCann or Jarod Saltalamacchia, the top two catchers on the market. And third-tier players like A.J. Pierzynski, John Buck or Dioner Navarro were flawed.
"Ruiz was rewarded after his worst season in five years. He lost the first 25 games to suspension for unsanctioned Adderall use. His swing suffered. He applied pressure in a contract season. An improved second half helped restore faith."
Amaro now has given long-term deals to five members of the 2008 World Series championship team -- first baseman Ryan Howard, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, second baseman Chase Utley, starting pitcher Cole Hamels and Ruiz.
Ruiz is entering his ninth season in the majors, hitting .274 for his career to go along with 57 home runs and 336 RBIs. He had his best season in 2012, setting career highs in five statistical categories -- average (.325), on-base percentage (.394), OPS (.935), home runs (16) and RBIs (68).
Erik Kratz and Cameron Rupp will compete for backup catcher duties.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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