The Phillies and Carlos Ruiz have agreed to a three-year extension worth $8.85M, as reported by Todd Zolecki. The deal also contains a fourth-year option worth $5M.
Extending Ruiz through at least 2012 is a good move for the Phillies, a team that has traded away catching prospects Jason Jaramillo, Lou Marson, and Travis d’Arnaud over the course of two years. The farm system is thin with potential replacements for Ruiz, making such a move necessary in order to ensure safety and stability to the catching position for years to come.
The financial aspect of this contract is difficult to judge immediately because it remains to be seen which Carlos Ruiz will show up in 2010. Will it be the consistent, bottom-of-the-order threat we’ve seen in October of 2008 and 2009, or the man with a .246/.337/.379 slash-line over four seasons in Philadelphia?
Based on Ruiz’ much improved 2009 season and subsequent playoff dominance, he will more than likely sustain, if not improve upon, the .255/.355/.425 season he produced last year. Those numbers, while not exceedingly impressive, are more than adequate for today’s major league catcher.
When you factor in Ruiz’ elite defense behind the plate, $9-14 million is fair. He is the best in the business at blocking balls and his three errors last season were tied for the fewest among all catchers. His career caught stealing percentage of 27% is also above the major league average, which is roughly 25% annually.
With Ruiz locked up, Ruben Amaro has now completed his offseason work. He successfully avoided arbitration with Ruiz, Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino, and Chad Durbin, extending three of the four through the 2012 season.
The only Phillies with expiring contracts after the 2010 season are (obviously) Jayson Werth and Chad Durbin. J.C. Romero has a club option for $4.5M. This will likely be Durbin’s last year since 2011 will be his first official year of free agency and the decision on Romero’s option will surely be determined by his ability to make a comeback from a 2009 to forget.