Now Is The Time For Philadelphia Phillies To Trade Carlos Ruiz

For Exhibit A in baseball’s aggressive pursuit of substance abusers, the prosecution in the MLB home office might be wise to offer Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies as a case study.

Ruiz, the Phils’ starting catcher since 2007,  returned from a 25-game suspension for Adderall useat the end of April. He has not been the same player since.

Last year, Ruiz had career highs in batting average (.325), home runs (16) and RBI (68). Prior to that, Ruiz’s career highs in the same category were .302, nine and 55. Since the return, the numbers have been even more stark: In 40 games, Ruiz is hitting .268 with no home runs and six RBIs.

The numbers might cause some concern among those in the Phillies front office, who have to wonder how much the Adderall use might have helped Ruiz in 2012.

Right now, though, it’s apparent that Ruiz’s trade value has never been higher. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the Phillies have been receiving “many calls” inquiring about Ruiz’s availability. Should the Phils come to the conclusion that Ruiz, at 34, will never be the same player post-suspension, parting with the fan favorite for prospects might be the way to go.

Erik Kratz has proven to be a serviceable backup so far with pretty good pop in his bat. He’s played three more games than Ruiz has (43) with eight more home runs and 16 more RBIs, although his .229 average does not excite anyone. They have mid-level prospects like Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp at the Triple-A level, but could listen if a more attractive lower-level prospect with a higher upside is offered as trade bait.

In 130 minor-league games, Joseph is hitting .239 while Rupp is hitting .245 in 57 games. The Phillies would like to have a better hitting catcher-in-waiting than those two.

If the Phillies can get a Class-A or Double-A shortstop or catcher of the future for Ruiz, look for Amaro to move Ruiz by the trade deadline. Sell high and buy low describes Ruiz’s value for the Phillies right now.

Mike Gibson is a Phillies writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook   or add him to your network on Google.

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