Darin Ruf Rumors
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.
The Phillies saw their streak of five consecutive NL East titles ended by the Nationals in 2012. But, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes there is optimism since the Phillies won 60% of their games after July 31 despite the health issues of Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz, trading away Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, and not having a reliable setup man for Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies, however, enter the new year with several question marks which Zolecki says centers around the health of Halladay and Chase Utley, the continued recovery of Ryan Howard, and how much offense new acquistions Michael Young and Ben Revere will contribute. For more news and notes on the Phillies, Zolecki opened his inbox:
- Zolecki, when asked about the health of Halladay, quoted GM Ruben Amaro Jr. who recently said, "He's going to start throwing off the mound here very shortly. I guess he's working down there with Kyle Kendrick pretty extensively. He's doing well, but we don't know what kind of Doc we're going to get until Doc's down firing in Spring Training."
- Speaking of Kendrick, Zolecki believes he's a lock for the starting rotation as long as he remains healthy.
- Scott Hairston would be the best fit to fill one of the corner outfield vacancies. Zolecki notes the Phillies have tried to acquire Hairston in the past. Zolecki also mentioned Alfonso Soriano, who he thinks would slot in nicely hitting behind Utley and Howard.
- If the Phillies acquire a right-handed outfield bat, look for Darin Ruf to open the season at Triple-A.
- The Phillies don't have have enough top-tier talent to tempt the Marlins into trading Giancarlo Stanton to the City of Brotherly Love.