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Carlos Ruiz Rumors
With Cliff Lee on the 60-day DL, 23-year-old Joely Rodriguez is now in the mix for a Phillies rotation job, Jake Kaplan of the Inquirer writes. The Phillies acquired Rodriguez from the Pirates for Antonio Bastardo in the offseason. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Kevin Slowey and Paul Clemens are also possibilities. Rodriguez is getting an opportunity he wouldn’t have gotten with the Pirates, who are deliberate with prospect promotions — Rodriguez posted a 4.84 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 134 innings at Double-A last year and has no Triple-A experience. Here’s more from the Phillies.
- Catcher Carlos Ruiz will be key to the Phillies’ likely transition from a rotation built around Lee and Cole Hamels to one built around youngsters like Aaron Nola and Jesse Biddle, Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News writes. “I believe you help make them comfortable and they’re going to show what they’ve got,” says Ruiz. “That’s one key, I always try to, and Chase [Utley], Howie [Ryan Howard], too, that way you talk to these guys in different ways and do [your] part.” Ruiz has two years plus an option remaining on the contract, but there’s obviously the possibility that the Phillies could trade him, just as they traded Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd. Ruiz said he has spoken with his agent about that possibility but generally doesn’t worry about it much.
- Roy Halladay joined Lee and Hamels in the Phillies’ dugout while visiting with his old team on Monday, the Associated Press reports. Halladay, who retired following the 2013 season and is considering a second career as a sports psychologist, says he can relate to how Lee must feel in light of his injury. “Any time you can’t go out and do what you’ve done your whole life, it’s a challenge,” says Halladay.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that he could look to add a veteran shortstop and catcher to his club, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. While Amaro does not expect to make a move before camp opens, he indicated that the club will have its eyes out for additions over the course of the spring.
Philadelphia is obviously charting a different path this year than it has in recent campaigns. With several veterans already dealt away and others possibly to follow, the Phils will no doubt continue to fill a roster with low-priced, good-clubhouse veterans and players with some manner of upside.
At short, Freddy Galvis currently sits atop the depth chart with Jimmy Rollins now in Los Angeles. Additional competition and depth certainly makes some sense there. Behind the dish, veteran Carlos Ruiz seems likely to open the year with the club but could certainly become a trade candidate at some point during the season, if not sooner. With players like Cameron Rupp, Koyie Hill, and John Hester the top names behind him, another option makes some sense.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe asked about a dozen GMs in Phoenix about the Yankees’ situation and not one of them thought the Bombers would stay away from a major signing. For all the talk about the Cubs being a major player for Jon Lester, the Red Sox are still fearful that it’ll be the Yankees that swoop in and grab him. More from today’s column..
- Both center fielder Dexter Fowler and catcher Jason Castro are available in a deal and the Astros wouldn’t mind dealing for bullpen help. Fowler had a decent year and enjoyed more success as a right-handed hitter. The 28-year-old (29 by Opening Day) slashed .327/.419/.467 as a right-handed hitter but hit just .260/.361/.376 from the other side of the plate. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle has heard that the asking price is high on Castro and that there aren’t any contract talks currently taking place between the two sides.
- Jason Hammel’s agent, Alan Nero, told Cafardo that teams have called on his client but no great advancements have been made on a contract. Nero figures the secondary pitching market may take a while to develop.
- Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley has become a popular trade target of a few teams, and while Arizona will listen, it will take a haul to get him.
- Free agent catcher David Ross wonders whether his status with the Red Sox hinges on whether they sign Jon Lester. Lester and Ross had a great run together in 2013 and the catcher tells Cafardo that the two will get together after Thanksgiving. Ross says that he’s begun to field interest from other teams in the interim.
- The Phillies will shop Carlos Ruiz and while plenty of teams need catchers, his age (35) and his contract will be a problem. Ruiz has two years left on his deal at $8.5MM per year plus a $4.5MM option for 2017 that can bought out for $500K.
Now that we’re beyond the July 31st trade deadline, players must pass through revocable trade waivers in order to be dealt to another team. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd broke down the August trade rules and what it means when you see several major names placed on waivers over the next few weeks.
Here are today’s notable players who have reportedly been placed on revocable waivers…
- Also going on revocable waivers today were Jason Hammel of the Athletics and Wade Miley of the Diamondbacks, Rosenthal tweets. As Rosenthal notes, it seems likely that clubs will claim Miley, but that he will be pulled back by Arizona. As for Hammel, a deal still seems rather unlikely since Oakland dealt away some important rotation depth in Tommy Milone.
- Hitting the wire today from the Phillies were Marlon Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Carlos Ruiz, Rosenthal tweets. They will be on waivers until Wednesday.
- The Phillies placed Antonio Bastardo, A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Howard and Kyle Kendrick on revocable waivers, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter). The moves all took place on Saturday, so since the waiver period lasts 47 hours, we could know by today if any of the players were claimed. I’d expect Bastardo and Burnett to be claimed given that both drew significant interest before the July 31st deadline, and there is virtually no chance any team would claim Howard and risk being stuck with the roughly $68MM remaining on his contract.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Burnett | Antonio Bastardo | Arizona Diamondbacks | Carlos Ruiz | Chase Utley | Cole Hamels | Jason Hammel | Jimmy Rollins | Jonathan Papelbon | Kyle Kendrick | Marlon Byrd | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Placed On Revocable Waivers | Roberto Hernandez | Ryan Howard | Wade Miley
In a must-read piece for ESPN The Magazine, Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus provides a riveting look into the Angels' efforts to turn around the organization's languishing farm system. Focusing on the philosophies of assistant GM (and former big leaguer) Scott Servais, Miller explores how the Halos hope to emulate the shockingly simple methods of the Cardinals while infusing deep, data-driven analysis into their player-development efforts.
Here are more links from around the game to finish the day:
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson hopes to stay in his role for two or three more years, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 66-year-old, who took the helm in October of 2010, is currently under contract for the following season with a club option for 2015.
- New Dodgers TV network SportsNet LA has yet to reach agreement with many local pay-TV distributors, reports Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times, which means that a majority of Los Angeles viewers would be without Dodgers games if the season started today. Though the network expressed confidence that deals will be in place by the onset of the 2014 campaign, Flint explains that negotiations promise to be tense.
- In an interesting profile of Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that little notice was given to the fact that Ruiz has been cleared by MLB to use Adderall in the coming season. That is the very substance for which Ruiz was suspended at the start of last season. Brookover paints a picture of a genuinely passionate backstop who is ready to earn his new three-year, $26MM contract.
- A major factor in the White Sox' rebuilding plans is number-two starter Jose Quintana. As MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes, the work of scouts Daraka Shaheed and Joe Siers was responsible for bringing Quintana into the Chicago organization as a minor league free agent from the Yankees, and for setting him on the trajectory to serve as a starter. The 25-year-old, who notched a 3.51 ERA in an even 200 innings last year, is likely to become arbitration-eligible next season as a Super Two. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently looked at the excellent work of Shaheed and Siers in examining the increasing number of Major League deals for minor league free agents.
- Busy as the Sox were this off-season, no single addition carries as much risk (and, perhaps, upside) as 27-year-old first baseman Jose Abreu. As Merkin reports, the big Cuban — who inked a six-year, $68MM deal in late October — has drawn rave early reviews for his professionalism both at the plate and in terms of effort.
What better to go with your Thanksgiving apple crisp than some baseball news from the Big Apple? Here's the latest from the Mets and Yankees…
- Citi Field's reputation as a pitchers' park has generated concerns amongst some of the Mets' free agent targets, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports. Though Citi Field's fences were brought in before the 2012 season, the club's pitcher-friendly history is “something that is still in the (players’) heads out there, that it’s a tough park to hit in,” one agent said. "They see what David Wright went through there and it makes them a little nervous I think." As Ackert notes, Citi Field allowed an average of 1.2 home runs per game in 2013, the tenth-most of any stadium in the majors.
- The Mets have an interest in signing right-hander Armando Galarraga and southpaw Victor Garate, Rafael Tejera reports (via Twitter). Both pitchers have also been offered contracts by teams in Asia. As ESPN New York's Adam Rubin notes, the Mets would "undoubtedly" only be interested in the two hurlers on minor league deals.
- The Yankees were set on Brian McCann as their top catching target and had only passing interest in Carlos Ruiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports. The Bombers made no "serious overtures" to Ruiz and had slightly more substantive talks with Saltalamacchia, though one industry source described Salty only as the Yankees' "Plan B" if McCann signed elsewhere.
- "There’s no imaginable, alternate usage of the Yankees’ resources that will give them a roster superior to one featuring [Robinson] Cano," Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. Cano will "get paid" by someone, however, as all elite free agents do, and Davidoff expects the Yankees to pay at least $200MM to retain the second baseman. If another team goes substantially beyond a projected eight-year/$200MM offer, then Davidoff says the Yankees "would have an intellectual right" to let Cano leave.
- Earlier today, we learned that Yankees free agent hurler Phil Hughes should be able to find a multiyear on the open market, which puts the Mets out of the running for the right-hander's services.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post gives Alex Rodriguez credit for betting on himself, but he won't be betting on the Yankees star this time. A-Rod is taking his case to a courtroom rather than an arbitration hearing room and two sources tell Davidoff that there won't be a resolution on his 211-game suspension until early January. Today's big AL East news was the Yankees' five-year deal for Brian McCann earlier tonight, but here's more from the division:
- One executive called Carlos Ruiz a “good buy-low” catching option for the Yankees, but they never showed much interest, a source tells Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter). The Phillies re-signed Ruiz to a three-year, $26MM deal last week.
- The Red Sox talked to the Angels about Peter Bourjos before he was sent to the Cardinals, but the discussions "didn't go very far," tweets Brian MacPherson of the Provdence Journal.
- The Red Sox can turn to Jackie Bradley Jr. if Jacoby Ellsbury goes elsewhere rather than making a dramatic move, MacPherson writes. It's a new position for the BoSox, as they have historically had to go out-of-house after losing significant free agents. However, Boston will still probably add someone in support of Bradley as a safeguard.
For his latest Rumblings & Grumblings piece, ESPN's Jayson Stark spoke with several executives about the ultimate destination of Robinson Cano. One NL executive said: "I keep hearing there's no interest. I don't believe it." Stark agrees and hypothesizes that the lack of a market for Cano has been well-crafted by the Yankees leaking their own seven-year, $168MM offer in reaction to Cano's $310MM demand. One AL exec told Stark: "If you had a situation where everyone remained objective and everyone played it smart and you had teams that thought they could sign Robinson Cano for $120 million, you'd probably have five or six teams in on it. Then you'd set $120 million as the starting point and start the bidding, and see how much higher it gets." Stark feels that by starting the bar high, the Yankees have set the early market to a market of one. The same NL exec who didn't buy the lack of interest said that eventually teams who are chasing Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Brian McCann will say, "Wait a second. Cano's a much better player than those guys," and change direction. Stark runs down some possible late-emerging suitors. Here's more from his excellent piece…
- Stark reports an unknown wrinkle in the David Price trade saga. Price signed a one-year, $10.1125MM contract to avoid arbitration last January, but $5MM of that sum comes in the form of a signing bonus that is deferred to next year. While it was presented as a tax-related issue at the time, Stark notes that the Rays can use it as leverage in a trade, agreeing to take a slightly lesser package if the acquiring team pays that additional $5MM.
- The Phillies upped the ante and guaranteed Carlos Ruiz a third year because they were convinced that he would sign with the Red Sox if they didn't. The Phils looked hard at alternatives but were highly uncomfortable with the prices on other targets. For that reason, other teams haven't been as critical of the deal, though they've all offered high praise to Ruiz's agent, Marc Kligman.
- The Ruiz contract helps both McCann and particularly Jarrod Saltalamacchia, agents and an AL executive told Stark. Stark has heard that one reason the Red Sox were so interested in Ruiz was that they don't want to commit more than two years to a catcher, suggesting that Saltalamacchia is a goner in Boston.
- The Tigers' search for a closer has begun to lean more in favor of Brian Wilson than Joe Nathan, but Wilson's agent, Dan Lozano, may want to wait out the market, which isn't GM Dave Dombrowski's style, Stark points out.
- Bartolo Colon and agent Adam Katz aren't rushing into one-year contracts as they wait to see if someone will tack on a second guaranteed year in the wake of Tim Hudson's two-year, $23MM deal.
The Blue Jays discussed a trade for Matt Kemp with the Dodgers at the GM meetings, reports Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca. Those discussions appear to have gone nowhere, but Davidi says they are indicative of a trend throughout MLB — teams are entertaining ideas of big trades (like the recent Prince Fielder / Ian Kinsler blockbuster) rather than diving into a free agent market that's become increasingly expensive. Here are more notes from around the East divisions.
- The Nationals are hunting for a starting pitcher, but they don't want to sacrifice their 2014 first-round draft pick (no. 20 overall) in the process, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. That could make Matt Garza or Ricky Nolasco, who did not receive qualifying offers because they were traded in-season, more attractive options than Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana or Hiroki Kuroda.
- The Marlins have made contact with free agent infielder Yuniesky Betancourt, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. The Marlins are looking for a third baseman, and Betancourt played 59 games there in 2013, a season in which he hit .212/.240/.355. One would think that the Marlins would be interested only on a minor-league deal, though it's worth noting that Betancourt has received near-regular playing time for most of his career despite not posting an on-base percentage above .300 since 2007.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledges the risk involved in signing soon-to-be-35-year-old catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year deal, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury writes. "Clearly this is a commitment that will be scrutinized," Amaro says. "Is it a risk to put three years into a catcher at this stage of his career? It can be, yes. But I think every signing is a risk and we hope that he remains productive throughout the three years and perhaps more." Ruiz hit .268/.320/.368 in a weak offensive season in 2013.
The Phillies had a hole to fill at catcher, and they've filled it with the most familiar face possible. The Phillies and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. officially announced today that Carlos Ruiz has re-signed with the team on a three-year, $26MM contract that contains a club option for a fourth season.
Ruiz will reportedly earn $8.5MM annually, and the club option was reported to be worth $4.5MM with a $500K buyout. The longtime Phillie can also earn an additional $500K each season by appearing in more than 125 games behind the plate. He is able to block trades to four teams.
Ruiz, also known as "Chooch," is represented by agent Marc Kligman. The 34-year-old began the season with a 25-game suspension for amphetamine usage and was limited by a hamstring injury upon his return. As such, the .268/.320/.368 batting line produced by Ruiz doesn't tell the whole story of his season. Over the season's final two months, the Panamanian backstop slashed .288/.343/.444.
Ruiz caught just 25 percent of runners attempting to steal against him last season — an area in which he's been unable to consistently post an above-average mark throughout his career. Fangraphs estimates that he saved 1.8 runs blocking pitches in the dirt, though there have been studies done on pitch framing by catchers that indicate he is below-average in that department.
Ruiz's $26MM guarantee eclipses the two-year deal that MLBTR's Tim Dierkes projected in his free agent profile. Ruiz reportedly had offers in the two-year $15-20MM range, and Kligman looks wise to have waited for a three-year offer to trump those proposals.
At season's end, Ruiz told the Philadelphia Inquirer's Ryan Lawrence that he hoped to spend his entire career with the Phillies, and he may have the opportunity to do just that with this deal, as it will run through his age-37 season with an option for his age-38 campaign. In parts of eight big league seasons with the Phils, Ruiz is a .274/.358/.412 hitter with 57 home runs.
With Ruiz off the market, the top remaining free agent catchers are Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski. Ruiz's surprising guarantee is good news for Saltalamacchia and Pierzynski in particular, as they, like Ruiz, are in a lower tier than McCann.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that Ruiz would re-sign with the Phillies (on Twitter). Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the deal was for three years and $26MM with a club option (Twitter links). ESPN's Jayson Stark provided the financial details and reported the limited no-trade clause (on Twitter), and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweeted the incentives.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.