Potential Free Agents: Top Five Catchers

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

4. Carlos Ruiz

A year go this time we’d probably assume that the chances Philadelphia would let Ruiz reach free agency were slim. He’d established himself as one of the team’s core, stepping in when the team needed someone to do so with injuries to Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and others. From 2010 through 2012 he’d hit .303/.388/.454 while receiving MVP consideration all three years. 2012’s power surge (a career best 16 HR) landed him his lone All Star appearance.

Things changed in Philadelphia in 2013. Ruiz missed some time with a strained hamstring, but has hardly missed a step at the plate. He’s batted .290/.341/.397 in 300 PA. His power production is gone (6 HR, 14 2B) but otherwise he’s largely been providing the same offensive production the team’s become accustomed to. Yet most speculation points to the Phillies allowing Ruiz to walk via free agency. Their desire to save money on the position figures to prevent them from being a major player for a catcher on the open market – despite Rosenthal’s earlier assumption. Philadelphia has other priorities this offseason (in no particular order I’d expect the team to pursue a starting pitcher and an outfielder before addressing their catching situation) that should preclude them from this discussion.

Ruiz is earning just $5 Million this season but will be 34, an age that works against him when it comes to getting a long term deal. The fact that the Phillies have seemingly dismissed him already (signing Utley to his extension also cut into their prospective future budget) comes as a surprise.