Catching figures to be a major priority for the Phillies this season with Carlos Ruiz eligible for free agency and top catching prospect Tommy Joseph having endured a lost season as a result of concussion issues. However, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com provides an in-depth look at the Phils' catching depth beyond Joseph, noting that Cameron Rupp has already reached the Majors. Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan tells Salisbury that he's also very excited about 2013 second-rounder Andrew Knapp, and a rival scout familiar with the Phillies' system was particularly enthusiastic about Dominican prospect Deivi Grullon. Here's more on Ruiz and the Phillies...
- Ruiz would like to return to Philadelphia, writes Salisbury in a separate piece, and the organization has taken note of his recent surge at the plate, with GM Ruben Amaro Jr. stating that Ruiz looks far more relaxed. Pitching coach Rich Dubee, who knows Ruiz quite well, feels that Ruiz is best limited to 100 games behind the plate at this point in his career, however.
- Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus writes that Darin Ruf is exceeding expectations of scouts and talent evaluators with his production at the big league level so far. Lindbergh's piece includes an excellent interview with Ruf, conducted last week, in which Ruf discusses what scouts thought of him, his limitations on the field and his journey from senior sign/20th-round pick to a potential long-term asset for the Phillies. "I’m probably a bad person to ask prospect-type questions because, I don’t know, I never was one," Ruf candidly replied at one point in the interview.
- Roy Halladay and Kyle Kendrick will force the Phils to make tough decisions this offseason, writes MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. The Phillies have four more starts to evaluate Halladay's progress from shoulder surgery, but as Amaro noted to Zolecki, it's possible that Doc won't be at full strength until next spring. Amaro and his staff will have to decide whether or not to bring Halladay back on an incentive-laden deal or seek a more certain commodity.
- Likewise, the decision on whether or not to tender Kendrick a contract that could approach $8MM via arbitration is no easy decision. Kendrick has never been on the disabled list, Zolecki noted in a different piece, a trait that would make him desirable to other teams should the Phillies non-tender him and try to sign him for less money. Dubee agreed: "If something doesn't happen here, I'm sure there's going to be plenty of seekers. He's durable. He hasn't missed a start all year. Those guys are highly sought."
- Zolecki also adds that left-hander John Lannan is likely to be non-tendered by the Phils this offseason following surgery on his left knee.