As of six days ago, the Toronto Blue Jays were considered serious suitors for free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz. Although most were convinced that Toronto was not the team purportedly offering Ruiz a 2-year, $20 million contract, the Jays obviously had a need and had expressed interest.
Six days later, that pursuit becomes short-lived, as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted Monday morning that Ruiz and his former team, the Philadelphia Phillies, have agreed on a contract for the catcher to return to the city of brotherly love.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 18, 2013
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer expands on Rosenthal’s anouncement with a tweet of his own, revealing the details of the contract.
Source: Phillies have re-signed Carlos Ruiz to a three-year, $26 million contract.
— Matt Gelb (@magelb) November 18, 2013
That’s right folks, the Phillies wanted Ruiz back enough that they handed the soon-to-be 35-year-old catcher a three year guaranteed contract worth a rumored $26 million. That seems a bit rich for what the Blue Jays were hoping to accomplish this winter, especially with the need starting pitching outweighing the team’s needs behind the plate.
Still, as we detailed on Saturday, Ruiz would have represented a solid upgrade over incumbent catcher J.P. Arencibia. With a lifetime slash line of .274/.358/.412 and the defensive metrics to back that up, Ruiz was one of the most sought after free agents during the early goings of the Hot Stove season.
Now the Blue Jays will turn their attentions to other available backstops. A.J. Pierzynski, Dioner Navarro, and Kurt Suzuki all fit the mold that the Blue Jays could want, at least from a cost perspective. The team is unlikely to make a splash on this market though, which means they are not likely to pursue either of the bigger fish; Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
UPDATE – 12:17pm :
Jayson Stark elaborates a bit more on the deal itself, which apparently also included an option year.
#Phillies deal w Ruiz pays him $8.5M in each of next three seasons, with a $4.5-M option or $500,000 buyout. Also can block deals to 4 teams
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) November 18, 2013
Thanks, but that’s a bit heavy for a 35-year-old catcher that barely clears 100 games a season.