In a recent interview with MLB.com, Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz said he may not return at all for the remainder of the 2012 season.
Ruiz has been on the disabled list for over a month with plantar fasciitis in his foot, an injury that shortened the stellar campaign he was having at the plate. Ruiz is hitting .335/.399/.559 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs in 353 plate appearances plus typically great defense behind the dish, and backup Erik Kratz has contributed to the tune of a .290/.343/.624 line that includes eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 105 plate appearances.
The Phillies catchers combined this season have 24 home runs, a .900 OPS, and an MLB-best 6.5 WAR. The Phillies are technically still in the distance for the final wild card spot – currently eight games back of the St. Louis Cardinals – but they’re getting such good production from Kratz both offensively and defensively that it really doesn’t make sense to rush Ruiz back.
Ruiz is in the final year of a three-year, $8.85 million contract, although he does have a $5.5 million option for 2013 that the team will assuredly pick up. Ruiz is already 33 years old so he doesn’t have a ton of time left in Philly but the Phillies will probably re-sign him to a small multi-year deal while they hand the position over to Sebastian Valle.
And if by some chance the Phillies can qualify for the playoffs, you have to know Ruiz won’t be missing the postseason.