The end is near! We see it on every movie about the end of the world, every super-hero movie, and well on any sports network anytime a GM makes a move that reeks of desperation and is unsuccessful. Well, in my opinion, we’ve officially hit that point with Ruben Amaro’s last two signings. The countdown clock to the end has officially begun.
Why do I come to this conclusion? Although I love Carlos Ruiz the baseball player, this contract at best is a reach. Rube was in competition with the Red Sox who were offering 2 years at 20 million, and had no imagination on how to fulfill the catcher position going forward and in desperation offered 3 years to a 35 year old catcher. Who is coming off a suspension, averaged only 112 games a year his last 3 seasons, and is showing huge signs of regression as last year was one of his worst statistical seasons as a regular.
Ruiz is an underrated catcher and under the right circumstance, would have loved to see him stay in red pinstripes. I still believe in the old school philosophy that you win with defense up the middle, and if you get anything offensively it’s a bonus. Ruiz gave us exactly that until last season. Catchers just don’t hold up and be productive at 38, which is how old Ruiz will be when the Phillies can opt out of his contract. Also, with Ruiz only averaging 112 games a season you need to hope either; A.) Joseph/Rupp can fill in as an understudy and be productive in those other 50 games (and if they can produce for 50 games then why can’t they for 120 and be your starter.) or B.) You’re going to have to sign a catcher who is more of a starter than more than back up (like a Navarro or Pierzynski) which will handcuff you in filling out the rest of the pitching staff.
There are those who say this is a good signing and that Ruiz was the best catcher on the market and this is just the cost of doing business. While I agree defensively Ruiz is the best on the market, I couldn’t disagree more that this is the cost of doing business.
First, if Ruiz was head and shoulders above everyone else, then why did the Red Sox not offer him a 3rd year and match the Phillies when their catcher situation is worse than ours? Second, A.J. Pierzynski put up a statistically better line of .272/.297/.425 while hitting 17 Home Runs and 70 RBI in 134 games and at a year older than Ruiz would have accepted a one year deal and same yearly salary as Ruiz (8.5 Million). Third and here’s where I see the cracks in Ruben Amaro’s armor, because he’s so afraid of losing his job that he’s now afraid to take a risk, he’s lost any thought on being creative to move this team forward. He’s afraid of putting Rupp in to see what he has (by the way he’ll be 27 when Ruiz’s contract is up), or signing Dioner Navarro or pursing Matt Wieters and using the money saved to fix a bullpen that he’s destroyed. He no longer has the ability to think past these next 162 games. He’s hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. When you hit that point as a General Manager, it’s a scary place, dangerous for an organization. I hope for our sakes he’s right and I’m wrong and that in about 11 months from now we’ll be parading down Broad Street, but under this GM I just don’t see it.
BY: Brian Evans……….Follow me @Brian_Evans32
- Phillies sign Carlos Ruiz to three-year, $26M deal (cbssports.com)
- Phillies, Chooch Agree to $26 Million Deal (zozone.mlblogs.com)