Philadelphia Phillies: Carlos Ruiz’s Case to Return in 2014 Strengthens
It has been an interesting season for Philadelphia Phillies‘ catcher Carlos Ruiz.
After testing positive for Adderall, a substance most commonly used to help with focus and attentiveness in ADHD patients, Ruiz began the season having to face a first time offender 25-game suspension. During the time that he was serving the suspension, Erik Kratz became the primary catcher and Humberto Quintero was the backup. Clearly, that was not the pair Philadelphia had envisioned starting behind the backstop.
But with prospect Tommy Joseph dealing with a rash of concussion issues and Sebastian Valle seeming more like a bust than anything else, the Phillies really didn’t have many options when it came to filling this position, even if it was just short term.
Ruiz came back to take over fulltime duties as was expected but he was incredibly slow to start, hitting just .125 in April and .256 in May.
But as the season progressed and Ruiz’s bat seemed to catch up with where it had been in years’ past, the Phillies’ catcher once again started to hit. He batted .294 in the month of June and after a poor July, came back to hit .333 in August. He is currently batting .294 in September.
Ruiz is set to become a free agent at the end of this season and there has been doubt that the Phillies will re-sign him. However, with the way Ruiz has been playing as of late, he is certainly making his case as to why he should stay.
The free agent catching market features nothing particularly spectacular and nothing that represents a significant upgrade over Ruiz offensively. The only real upgrade is Brian McCann and not only will he be pricey, but there is little to no chance he actually wants to come to Philadelphia anyway. Ruiz meanwhile, has expressed nothing but a desire to stay.
Offense aside, Ruiz has a special place with fans in the city of Philadelphia and he calls games better than any free agent catcher the Phillies could get anyway. He is a great asset for this team with the young rotation. He really is beloved and praised by players and the fans that cheer “Choooooooooch”.
His play alone is reason enough why he should stay, but the Phillies really should consider the intangibles the catcher brings to the team.
Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.