According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post– or whichever Denver paper is still around these days– the Colorado Rockies have made an offer to free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, formerly of the Philles. But that’s far from the most interesting part of his report for us:

Colorado made an offer to Ruiz over the past 48 hours, and that has them in the mix for the veteran catcher. It may take an over pay in either money (something Colorado has some flexibility to do) or years (something the Rockies rarely do) to keep them at the table with the Phillies, Blue Jays and Red Sox all interested in Ruiz.

Of course, as we discussed in the Nick Cafardo post earlier today, the Jays are going to show at least some level of interest in pretty much everyone. So, it’s not like this necessarily means a whole lot– and it’s also not like Shi Davidi didn’t link the Jays and Ruiz in his post at Sportsnet last night– but… I don’t know. You could do worse.

That said, there are giant red flags on just about every player available this off-season, which is especially true of the catchers, and Ruiz is no exception. He had a very poor 2013, with a pronounced platoon split, a third straight sizeable decline in his walk rate, and a near-total loss of the power he showed in 2012. He’s looking for a multi-year deal, he’s going to be 35 in January, and he’s coming off a PED suspension, having missed 25 games at the start of the year for taking a banned stimulant.

And it’s not like he’s going to come all that cheap, either. Ken Rosenthal tweets the following:


There are positives about him too, though. His defensive reputation, and reputation as a game caller (for whatever that’s worth), is quite good, and he’s shown ability to get on base, with a career OBP of .358 that’s mostly dragged down by 2013 and his first years in the league. His OBP was .355 or better for four straight years starting in 2009, he amassed 14.6 fWAR over that 2009 to 2012 span, and even was a couple wins better in 2013 than the man he’d replace if he ended up coming here, posting a 1.4 WAR over 341 plate appearances in 92 games, compared to J.P. Arencibia’s -0.6 mark.

In fact, there is maybe a little reason for optimism for an offensive bounce back, despite the aging and the general downward trending: Ruiz was quite good over the season’s last two months, which may fall entirely in line with what you’d expect from a player who missed the early part of the season the way that he did. Of course, that’s mostly because of a huge, 160 wRC+, month of August, which was bookended by months in which he was just as bad, or worse, than the rest of the season.

Keith Law, in his top 50 free agent piece at, ranked Ruiz 28th, noting that he very possibly needs a left-hitting platoon partner– which the Jays, at least theoretically, have in Josh Thole– and suggested that he “struggled to hit better velocity this past season.” But on the other hand, the whole position is dogshit, and even the paltry-for-him .320 on-base that Ruiz posted in 2013 looks goddamned robust compared to what we saw from J.P. Arencibia.

I don’t like the money or the term or any of the negative stuff, but… hey, an upgrade! I guess I could stomach it… I think.

So… there’s that.


For those of you unaware, the title of this post is brought to you by Ryan Howard’s autocorrect.

Comments (89)

  1. I’ve always been high on Ruiz. 2Y / $20M is steeper than I would have expected. I could stomach it, but it’s pretty close to my limit.

    Doubt that offer is from the Jays, though.

    • Then again – 2/20 could mean a few different things.

      If I had to make an offer, something like 2-years, $16M with a $3M buyout on a third year, $8M option would be justifiable to me. Either they’re going to be great in the next two years and that buyout won’t be a big deal, or they’re going to struggle and sell, so either Ruiz would be gone or the payroll would fall and the option again wouldn’t get in the way.

    • Fangraphs does an annual crowdsourcing of what players will get, and for the last few years has been quite accurate. Their prediction on Ruiz: 2 yrs/16.8 MM.

  2. yikes, 2/20, that’s kind of beyond the point where I would start looking elsewhere

  3. Free agency is what it is.

  4. You had me at “…ability to get on base…”.
    Compared to who he would replace…

  5. Why are we believing what his agent is saying?

    Even better, why are we believing what one suitor has to say about what Ruiz’s agent supposedly said?

  6. “Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter) hears that the Rockies are willing to do a two-year deal with an option. However, it would appear that the Rockies were not the team to offer $20MM over two years as Sherman reports (link) that they were told about the offer from Ruiz’s representatives. If that’s really Ruiz’s asking price, then the Rockies will pass.”

    That comes via the latest MLBTR update.

  7. For what it is worth, Ruiz is suppose to be good defensively, but he is bad at framing.

    • So he has better OBP than JP, better defensively than JP, but not as good at framing than JP(which I still don’t think is accurate after watching the way he stabs and jabs at pitches in the zone). I think after last season, most fans would be estatic for that kind of trade off.

      • I think we’re just apprehensive at the cost, especialy since we have so many other holes to fill.

        • And the clear signs that ruiz is on the decline.

          • I don’t like the price. That being said, even in his decline, he is way better than JP in so many faucets, and would rather see him here then Salty or AJ. If they could get Narvarro, that would be nice, but he hasn’t played in 100 game since 2009. For whats out there, and his track record, even at his age, it isn’t as crazy of a gamble compared to other options, most of which will likely be looking for 3-4 year deals. Not that they’ll get those long term deals, but the Jays can ill afford to wait around for the bargain bin of left over catchers.

      • That’s pretty much literally everyone, though.

    • He has all the tools to become a better one. His body is pretty still and he has good hands. He’s an older guy so he still tries the old pull back into the strike zone garbage. A good catching instructor…ahem…Sal…can get him into this decade. Look at what the Pirates were able to do with a good receiving catcher this year. Turned him from a good receiver into a great pitch framing.

  8. Pay that man his money.

    He’ll get on base, get some hits, but mostly I’d be excited for what he brings to the rotation.
    He calls a great game, (caught a no hitter and a post season perfect game) great defense, can block balls. Basically he’ll be someone the pitchers will be confident to throw to.
    Can’t undersell that point.

    • Post-season was a no-hitter and the perfect game was in the regular season. But regardless, I think that had a lot more to do more with Halladay than Ruiz. Luck probably also played a way bigger factor than Ruiz.

      But yeah, he is suppose to be good at handling rotations.

      • After my previous posts on Ruiz I was running out of ways to pump his tires.

        He’s the best of the lot in my opinion.

        Plus there has to be a reason why every pitcher/manager/teammate raves about his abilities as a catcher/gamecaller/defender.

      • I see what your saying Argo, but to be fair, after winning his Cy Young in Phillie, I recall reading an article in SI. Halliday gave Ruiz tons of credit for helping adapt to the national league, and ranted and raved about his game calling. Halliday is a hard ass, and to get that kind of praise from him speaks volumes of his respect for his abilities.

    • Good point Smasher. I thought the same watching some of the pitchers last year. They definitely seemed tenative at times, and it seemed to be based solely on the fact that they knew who their catcher was. Not making an excuse for how poorly our starters performed, but anything you can do to make your pitchers a little more comfortable out there, can only help us in the end.

      • I remember one specific Beuhrle start when Mark had the good hook going and Arencibia was missing swinging strikes. Buck commented on how he thought Beurhle had become hesitant to throw it with runners on because he thought it would end up at the backstop.

        You need to have the confidence to throw your out pitch at all times.

        Just one of many reasons I pray JP finds greener pastures.

        • Except Buehrle and Dickey were fine in the second half, so this narrative doesn’t really hold up at all.

          And how do you explain how great the relievers performed for most of the year?

          Let’s not be silly.

    • Stop with the calls a great game nonsense, please.

      • Andrew, when will you get that it’s not a narrative. You can lump it in with chemistry or intangibles.

        Calling a smart game is obviously a skill, mixing, changing locations, patterns. Changing again based on situations.
        They don’t roboticly make up a list of every pitch and location before the game and then just throw those pitches.

        I can’t possibly understand your thinking on this one. I can on chemistry and stuff like that. But you’re wrong on game calling.

        • Should read “you CAN’T lump it in with chemistry and intangibles”.

        • I agree that game calling is not an intangible, but that doesn’t mean that you have any idea how to properly observe and quantify it. You’re just parroting that Ruiz is supposedly a good one, and Arencibia supposedly bad, from somewhere.

          Again, why was Arencibia calling a great game with relievers and not starters, if that’t the theory you’re putting forth? Why was he so good with Buehrle and Dickey in the second half but not the first?

          Sorry, but the way you’re trying to sell it doesn’t hold up. Provide some actual evidence that Ruiz would be some kind of a major upgrade– and isn’t, you know, the benefactor of receiving a great Phillies staff for the last several years– or you don’t get to pretend that this is a factor.

          • Relievers are typically 2 pitch pitchers and primarily just try to overpower hitters when they come in. Not a lot of thought needs to be put into what to call when Steve Delabar is on the mound. Hmmmm let’s try that 98 mph fastball away….

            Also most of the first half that was poor pertaining to the starting pitchers obviously falls on the starting pitchers. They weren’t executing and they got lit. I’m not equating their entire failure as a staff on JP’s gamecalling, I’m saying it’s a factor. Like any skill in ball, a contributing factor.

            And if you watch the games which I’m sure you do, haven’t you ever saw a batter real late on two fastballs and then the catcher calls a curveball and it gets smashed. And you’re like what the fuck is he calling offspeed when the dude was clearly overmatched with the heater?

            I had many of those moments this season watching JPA. I mentioned a few in Game Threats.
            JPA also tends to call primarily fastballs with runners on so he has a chance to throw out baserunners. This hurts the staff as well.

            I’m a catcher, I know I know, who gives a fuck because I’ve never played in MLB or anything close to it. But I will tell you that there is much more to game calling then sticking out a digit and setting up a target. It’s a chess game, you try to out think hitters.
            Some guys have a knack for it, a feel for it, can see that a hitter starts crowding the plate in his second at bat because you were going soft away, so you cross him up and come in hard even though he has a rep that he crushes fastballs in. It’s a skill, plain and simple, so for you to dismiss it I don’t know what to think.

            Talk to a big league catcher about it, I’m sure as a Score employee you have that ability.
            You give folks shit on here for making assumptions about things they know nothing about.
            I’m suggesting that you’re doing the same here.

          • Is it possible that game calling for relievers is just that much more simplified so that anyone could do it? The game plan is for 15-18 pitches instead of 110 and also dealing with typically a smaller selection. I’m pretty sure Santos’ gameplan is pretty simple. Throw fastball hard and follow it with a wipeout slider, then repeat. Much different than calling a game for Happ.

    • Remember when Jesus Montero caught a no-hitter?

  9. WHO CARES ABOUT ROGERS $ .. if the JAYS get RUIZ or whoever for that cost its a positive sign that they are willing to add salary .. + remove JPA’s salary and its like a 7 Million NET .. perhaps an early signing will signal to players and agents that they are IN IT again and will help move the needle to prospective FA’s to come to the jays .. even if its just a % point difference maker …

    besides .. 2 years fits in line with the other expiring contracts on the Jays and is a decent enough gamble ..

    • jesus.

    • A little incoherent, but it’s a reasonable point about subtracting JPA’s contract..

      • so who’s back up catcher then? JPA doesn’t make much.

        Subtracting his salary is ridiculous, even winning his arb case he won’t get paid much more than Josh Thole.

      • … as a barometer .. last year Russel Martin was signed for 2 and 17 mill .. seems like a bargain now

        • Martin is a completely elite defender and had inflated Yankee numbers heading into Free Agency; Poor comparison.

    • Who cares? People who understand that they don’t have an infinite payroll and will likely have to allot their resources to certain areas carefully?

  10. Count me in. $10mill/yr? That’s like 2 WAR these days. I think there’s a pretty fair chance ruiz can provide that kind of value for another 2-3 seasons. If mccann isn’t coming and salty has JPA kind of risk, who does that leave? I’d be very nervous about making navarro a starter after all the shittacular seasons he’s put up at the plate. I mean theres trades to be had for sure, but honestly I’d just rather spend the money. Its short term for an aging but relatively consistent performer at a position of great need. Sign him up.

  11. Another 1 mil saved
    @ShiDavidi: AA says Mark DeRosa is retiring

  12. I would be very, very happy with Ruiz as the Jays catcher in 2014. For a couple reasons:

    1. I think catcher defense, pitch-framing, and game-calling are really important and underappreciated.

    2. He’s never produced a negative WAR. Give me somewhere between last year and 2012…3 WAR?…and you are only a smidge under Brian McCann territory and better than Saltalamacchia.

    3. He’s not J.P. Arencibia.

  13. Just shittin here a bit. I like Ruiz but not at 20m/2years-depending on what we have to give up I like the idea of maybe getting Castro, but maybe they have something else in mind( the Bue jays that is).
    Does anybody out there see a possible Reyes ttrade to St louis?
    Perhaps for a Shelby Miller and Martinez?
    We then sign Stephen Drew and his good D( better than Jose at this stage) to play SS for 3/30 saving 7m /yr on Jose
    WE would then invest that 7m in Infante to solve the 2B problem and still have money left over of about 3m/yr. Add 12m of the extra budget and sign Ubaldo Jiminez for 4/52m.
    In this scenario we woud STILL have a few bucks to throw around.
    A lot of the talk has centered on possible Bautista moves , and although I got shit on buy Stoeten in September for even suggesting it be considered I still don’t beieve it’ll happen because he is more valuable to us than to a lot of suitors and would leave a huge hole in the outfield. Reyes on the other hand, I think is a possibility although slim but STL wants a “name” SS

    • FUCK NO to trading Reyes! As a Jays fan of 30+ years….I can’t tell you how painful it was to wait between Tony Fernandez and Jose Reyes just to have a good SS again.

      When you acquire a Reyes, you keep him. My opinion.

      • Is having a great SS better than winning a World Series? Just wondering. I’m not saying the above post means a world series, but what does your reply have to do with anything?

    • If Drew is a suitable stopgap at shortstop, then what stops the cardinals from signing him and keeping miller and martinez?

  14. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2/20 offer (if real) comes from the Yankees who could use a vet guy on a shorter term deal as they have a pretty good one (Gary Sanchez) coming.

    • “the Yankees who could use a vet guy”

      Reading that made me laugh. But yeah, he would be a good fit there.

  15. I just want to point out that Martin signed for 2-years and $17 million last season. And Russell Martin, although younger, is much shitter than Chooch.

    Plus salaries are suppose to go way bat-shit crazy this year.

    So two years, $20 million, seems reasonable.

  16. If we r goin to sign Ruiz, which im ok with. Then we should def take a flyer on Doc. I think he would love to come back to TO if he thought we could win. Also they seem to have game chemistry which doesnt hurt.

  17. DeRosa, noooooo

    • damnit. I guess it now makes a little more sense to hang onto Izturis. Someone has to be the veteran IF backup.

      • Sure… but who bats for Lind against lefties now? Cause Iztarius sure ain’t gonna offer much improvement.

  18. derosa made 29 mil in his career. I highly doubt he needs 750k to play on a last place team.

  19. What’s really lost in all of this is that he has an awesome nickname (Chooch).

  20. Obviously with no actual knowledge beyond what I read here, I have to feel that if they are willing to give a catcher 2/20, then they must have more money to spend than we think. Otherwise it would be obvious that they can’t afford to do it. So, if this is true, and we are in the market for a catcher at this price, knowing the other holes we need to fill, I wouldn’t worry if we overpaid because this would be a sign that the budget is higher than we think.

  21. Beat writer for Red Sox ( Scott Lauber tweets)

    “Also hear Blue Jays as Carlos Ruiz suitor. Jays, #RedSox vying with Rockies”

    $20 million over 2 years fits Boston’s M.O. – go short and offer a higher average salary.

    Ruiz would make a good platoon partner with Salty.

    Maybe though it’s Toronto that has made the offer, Latino guy who’d fit into their clubhouse and they certainly have the need.

  22. Also I’d ignore Law’s concerns about Ruiz being a platoon player.

    He struggled against righties last year , but his career splits which represent a much more larger sample size would take precedence.

    Verses righties – wRC+ 102
    Verses lefties – wRC+ 110

    This really is a negligible split overall.

  23. Andrew you can’t be seriously saying that 250 P.A. in 2013 verses a career sample of 2169 takes precedence.

    • You can’t be saying that he’s the exact same guy, at 35 and 36, as the vast majority of those plate appearances, either. So that sample isn’t representative, though you’re right that last year’s sample isn’t all you can look at either.

      Basically what I’m saying is: you’re ignoring it in order to see the thing that you want to see. And also that it needs far more weight than you’re giving it by citing career numbers, especially if his bat speed is going south.

      • Has there been any reports of his bat speed going south? I haven’t seen that anywhere.

        • Keith Law noted it in his top 50 free agents piece– or… actually he said he struggled to hit better velocity.

      • Andrew the problem with your limited sample approach is that in 2012 his wRC+ against righties was 155. So which is it, slow or fast bat speed?

        The proper way to do a projection is take the last 5 years of data and adjust for age. Using career numbers with salient adjustments is a much more sound approach than an extreme focus on the past season.

        • Also I note , that Steamer which is a very good projection system , that utilizes a regression method as I described previously, has Ruiz having a wRC+ of 109 in 2014.

          So yeah, I could live with him on a short term deal ( I haven’t even touched on his relatively good defensive numbers from Dewan and Bojan Koprivica) )

  24. Off topic but good news: Francona (not Farrell) won manager of the year.

  25. 20 mil is a lot of money to solve a problem you shouldn’t be having in the first place. If he was the final piece I guess it might make sense, but he’s not the final piece and he’s not the future either.

    If they can’t find a cacher who is worth an investment of money or players to settle the position for the longer term then go the safe route and find a competent defensive replacement. Not ideal, but adequate. Take the money you save and use it to sign an impact arm. I think that’s where the real bang for the buck resides.

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