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:
Free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz’s agent has told at least one suitor that he has a two-year, $20M offer.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 12, 2013
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 ESPN.com, 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.