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Should the Philadelphia Phillies Extend Carlos Ruiz?

It’s well-known that both Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino hit free agency following the 2012 season, but technically, so does Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz finishes up a three-year, $8.85 million contract although there is a $5 million team option for 2013 that the Philadelphia Phillies will absolutely pick up.

Ruiz has been arguably the best overall player on the Phillies this season, and he came up to the major leagues late, so he doesn’t seem like a player who will be 33 years old soon. The Phillies have a good backup in Brian Schneider, but he is in no way anything more than a solid backup at this point in his career.

Ruiz is hitting .366/.417/.590 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 171 plate appearances, and he’s also leading the National League with a .997 fielding percentage. His ability to handle the pitching staff has made him an asset during his years in Philadelphia.

Sebastian Valle is a good prospect at the minor league level, although he’s vastly underachieving with the Double-A Reading Phillies, to the tune of a .227/.262/.341 statline. The Phillies can’t necessarily count on Valle to one day take over as the starter, and considering they have a great player in Ruiz, I think they need to get every year they can out of Ruiz.

I’m not a big fan of teams extending players long-term in the year before their walk year, as the Phillies did with Ryan Howard. After all, look at the consequences that can easily happen. But a three or so year deal is a low risk for the kind of player Ruiz has been for the Phillies, and I think something in the area of a three-year, $25 million contract is very reasonable.