Tag: Carlos Ruiz

Carlos Ruiz to Mariners: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz from the Philadelphia Phillies in August, but they elected to trade him to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports first reported the deal, adding Seattle will pick up Ruiz’s $4.5 million option for 2017. The Dodgers are receiving a pitcher from the Mariners’ 40-man roster, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The player is expected to be left-handed pitcher Vidal Nuno, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times

Ruiz, who started his big league career in Philadelphia in 2006, appeared in just 62 games between the Phillies and Dodgers last year, slashing .264/.365/.348 with three home runs and 15 RBI.

While those were passable numbers at the plate, they were a far cry from his prime, when the 2012 All-Star posted a .325 batting average, a .934 OPS and 16 home runs.

At his best, Ruiz provides pop behind the plate, with 68 career home runs, though those have been spread out over a number of seasons:

One thing that could be appealing is his prowess against left-handed pitching. According to ESPN.com, he hit .271 with two home runs against southpaws last year. From 2013 to 2015, he hit .277 against lefties, compared to his .230 average against righties.

Ruiz is also a valuable defender. He’s been responsible for 43 total defensive runs saved above average in his career, including seven in just 493 innings in 2016, per FanGraphs. He also caught a career-high 41.7 percent of potential base stealers in 2016, per ESPN.com.

Ruiz likely won’t take the projected starting role from 25-year-old Mike Zunino—who hit 12 home runs in just 55 games in 2016 and 22 long balls in 2014—but he provides proven insurance behind the youngster.

In addition to his defense and ability to hit southpaws, Ruiz will bring plenty of postseason experience to the Mariners. He has played 53 playoff games in his career and won a World Series ring with the Phillies in 2008. That type of presence will be a welcome addition to a Mariners club that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2001. 

Ruiz will be 38 years old during the 2017 season, but his veteran leadership and array of skills should make him a viable player behind the plate for Seattle.

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Playing Fact or Fiction with All of MLB’s Hottest Week 21 Buzz and Rumors

A month ago, it looked like the defending World Series champions, the Kansas City Royals, were nothing more than an afterthought in the playoff picture. As we prepare to head into the final month of baseball’s regular season, though, the Royals sit in the thick of the AL playoff race.

But Kansas City isn’t the only team making noise. Has an untimely injury knocked a contender out of the running? Does a slugger’s desire to stay with his current team mean that he will?

We’ll hit on all that and more in this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. 

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2014 MLB Free Agents: Low-Profile Signings That Could Make a Big Difference

While the hype surrounding Major League Baseball’s free agency period tends to focus on well-known and high-profile players, smaller signings are often just as important.

In a way, low-profile signings can be the difference between a championship team and one that is out of any race before September. 

There are two things in common among the players included on this list.  First, they are not exactly the biggest targets in 2014.  Second, they may be the big difference makers each team needs to have success over the course of a full year.

Whether they provide adequate depth, round out a rotation or even just provide an unsung upgrade at a position, the teams that end up employing their services next season will be better off in 2014.

Chad Gaudin

Position: Relief Pitcher

2013 Team: San Francisco Giants

Right-handed reliever Chad Gaudin is an interesting commodity when it comes to free agency.  The 31-year-old reliever-turned-starter had a nice season filling in for San Francisco’s injured starter Ryan Vogelsong.

He is capable of both long relief and spot starting, which can help almost any rotation.  His 2013 contract of $750,000 makes him affordable as well.

Do the Giants want him back?  Probably, as tweeted by Larry Krueger of their flagship station KNBR in San Francisco.

Yet there are plenty of other teams that could be interested.  The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies could use a versatile starter.  The Boston Red Sox need bullpen help.  Gaudin can provide both. 

Gaudin earned his keep in San Francisco and is likely to stay there, but the deep pockets of teams like Boston, New York and Philadelphia could lure his services back east.


Carlos Ruiz

Position: Catcher

2013 Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz will be 35 years old when the 2014 season starts.  At that age, it is likely  that his best days are behind him.  Yet he can still provide good offensive prowess.

The other question is whether or not Ruiz returns to Philadelphia—the team he has spent his entire career with. 

The Phillies do need to get younger and more athletic.  Do they plan on keeping Ruiz in their equation, or do they look more to the future?  As of now, Philadelphia does not have an in-house option to replace Ruiz and the market for catchers is pretty thin.

Ruiz would also like to stay, but will a deal be made before he hits the open market at a thin position?  He probably won’t make as much compared to his previous contract, which makes him more attractive as a commodity.

In all likelihood Ruiz will remain in Philadelphia, but there is a good chance he could land with another squad looking for catching help.  The Tampa Bay Rays could use an offensive upgrade over the aging Jose Molina.  The White Sox and Tigers may also be looking for upgrades. 

This market is very thin and if Philadelphia does not lock up Ruiz soon, he may take a contract elsewhere.


Nate McLouth

Position: Outfield

2013 Team: Baltimore Orioles

There is a lot of upside to outfielder Nate McLouth.  The nine-year veteran has a lot of attributes that teams will be looking for during the offseason.  He has a good on-base percentage, hits right-handed pitching well and he can steal bases.

While he is nowhere close to a splashy free agent, his 2013 base salary of $2 million would mean the 31 year old would be a cheap option for a team looking to add depth or find an upgrade in the outfield.

Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com breaks down what will happen if McLouth leaves the Orioles and emphasizes what he can provide for another team that is interested.  He writes:

The Orioles aren’t brimming with alternatives to replace McLouth, and will have to turn to the free agent and trade markets if they don’t re-sign him.  Since McLouth could assume more of an above-average, oft-used fourth outfielder role, he could boost the depth of many clubs. 

The Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates—where McLouth started his professional career—may be looking for help in the outfield.

It would not be surprising to see McLouth land with either squad if it does not work out in Baltimore.  Both of those teams need the help and McLouth can provide it.


Stephen Drew

Position: Shortstop

2013 Team: Boston Red Sox

If you forget 2007 and 2012, shortstop Stephen Drew is actually a nice option at the position.

Playing on a talented Red Sox team helps his numbers quite a bit, but there is a potential that he could move on to somewhere else. 

Will he command the contract he got with Boston in 2013?  Probably not, even though his agent is Scott Boras.  Will he provide good defense with above-average numbers at the plate?  Absolutely.

So, which teams would be interested? 

The shortstop market is both relatively old and thin. 

With that in mind, there are a number of teams looking to add something at the position.  The New York Mets are a possible candidate as tweeted by Andrew Vazzano of SNY.tv.

Of course, Boston will look to entertain his return to the Red Sox.  Considering some of his extra-base hitting prowess displayed during the year, Boston would be smart to at least try an offer.

Other possibilities include the Pittsburgh Pirates, who could lose Clint Barmes via free agency, as well as the Tampa Bay Rays with Yunel Escobar.  Both clubs have good prospects waiting for their chance, but Drew could be the bridge in the meantime until their respective prospects are ready.

Yet the favorite here has to be Boston.  The Mets could lure him away if they want to overpay.  If contract negotiations become a problem, perhaps a short-term option becomes reality.

While none of these free agents are likely considered “high priority” by teams around the league, each offers a unique set of skills that could prove to be the difference heading forward into 2014.

In Gaudin‘s case, it is his versatility on the mound either as a starter or reliever.  Think how valuable that is to a rotation and/or bullpen late in the season.  With Ruiz, veteran catchers who can provide some offensive thump are a bonus to any lineup.  Ruiz’s ability to work with elite pitchers also makes his signing a bonus.

McClouth is a solid, if not stellar, outfielder.  There are plenty of teams that need corner outfielders and McClouth provides that.  He has good defense, enough offensive prowess and would add depth in a worst-case scenario.  At best, he could be a cheaper staple of a good offense.

Drew is also a likable option for teams needing good defense at shortstop.  He has some pop in his bat as well.  Those are both great assets considering the position. 

None of these signings will likely command the media attention given to players like Robinson Cano or Carlos Beltran.  Yet these free agents are no less important to helping teams win. 

After all, it is not necessarily the best players that help a team win—it is the right ones.


Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report.  Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.

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What Will Philadelphia Phillies Lineup Look Like Once Carlos Ruiz Returns?

The Philadelphia Phillies lineup saw minimal changes through the first 15 games of the regular season, with both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the batting order together in April for the first time since 2010.

Of course, all the Phillies had to show for these returns was a 6-9 record after April 17 and a 6.5 game deficit behind the Atlanta Braves in first place.

Following their 15th game of the season, the Phillies decided to move Jimmy Rollins back into the leadoff spot and Ben Revere to the seventh spot.  Since the move, Rollins’ average has gone from .232 to .258, while Revere’s average has increased from .194 to .207, including a .240 average from the seven hole.

These changes haven’t led to much to much more success as of yet, as the Phillies are now 3-5 since moving Rollins back into the leadoff spot.

However, on Sunday, the Phillies will have another lineup decision to make with hopes of improving the team’s .301 OBP, which ranks as the third lowest in the National League, and 80 total runs scored, which ranks as fifth lowest.

Catcher Carlos Ruiz is set to return from a 25-game suspension, which he served for testing positive for a banned stimulant, on Sunday in time for game No. 26 of the season.

Ruiz’s return will also give manager Charlie Manuel a few more options for a lineup that recently saw Chase Utley and Michael Young move up in the batting order.

For the majority of this season, the Phillies have had four consecutive left-handed batters at the top of their order against right-handed pitching (causing Rollins to bat from the left side).  Rollins is batting .246 from the left side, compared to .292 from the right side. 

Young, who has primarily batted fifth, was the first right-handed batter that other teams faced at times.

When Laynce Nix started over John Mayberry, Jr. in right field, the Phillies lineup only had two right-handed batters at times, with either Erik Kratz or Humberto Quintero joining Young in the batting order.

With Ruiz back in the lineup, the Phillies will have the option of batting Young third and Ruiz fifth, likely leaving no more than two left-handers batting in consecutive spots in any part of the batting order.

Ruiz is coming off of the best statistical season of his career after he batted .325 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI in 2012, all career highs.  Ruiz also posted a .394 OBP, an improvement over his .371 mark in 2011, despite drawing 19 fewer walks.

The chances of Ruiz batting above .300, let alone .325, this season are slim, but his return could still play a crucial part in helping to boost an offense that is now under pressure to succeed before first place it too far out of reach.

If Ruiz can match, or exceed, the .265 batting average he had from the fifth spot in the lineup last season, and Domonic Brown can continue to regain the form he showed during spring training, the Phillies lineup will potentially have a pair of power hitters lower in the lineup. 

Add in Delmon Young to the mix, with Revere potentially batting eighth, and the Phillies lineup will have undergone the last few changes it can using internal options.

Ruiz’s return will also mean that a player currently struggling to find consistent offensive success will move to a reserve role.

Phillies catchers have combined to have the fourth-lowest batting average in the National League so far this season, and have the lowest OBP in the league.  Kratz is currently batting .185 with 16 strikeouts to 12 hits, while Quintero is batting .313 but has played in just six games.

Although solid work behind the plate initially could have outweighed any early offensive struggles, the Phillies now find themselves seven games out of first place before the first month of the season has ended.

Ruiz’s return should lead to an offensive upgrade by putting his bat in the lineup and also by moving either Kratz or Quintero primarily into a reserve role.  Although Ruiz only had one hit in two games in a High-A ball tuneup recently, his one hit was a three-run home run.  He also did not strike out in his eight at-bats.

It’s not often that a team adds a .300 hitter from the prior season to their lineup in late April, but the Phillies will be doing just that when Ruiz returns on Sunday. 

More importantly, they will be adding a right-handed batter to a lineup that primarily features left-handed batters against opposing right-handers at a time when any sustained offensive success has been difficult to find.

Whether he bats fifth, sixth or even seventh, Ruiz will give the Phillies a potential power addition as they chase down a first-place team whose season has featured anything but a lack of early power.


*Ruiz’s minor league statistics can be found on MiLB.com, while all other statistics can be found on ESPN.com

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Philadelphia Phillies 2013: 7 Bold Predictions for the Phils’ 2013 Season

There is a unique feeling for Philadelphia fans entering the 2013 season.  Much of the talent that helped the team win 102 games in 2011 remains, but the bitter taste of the 2012 season remains strong.  Ruben Amaro has quietly filled the team’s needs, avoiding the flashy free-agent signing or blockbuster trade that has marked seasons past.  The team appears poised to compete, but there is more uncertainty surrounding this team than there has been in many years.

With the competition growing increasingly fierce, the Phillies will need to perform up to potential all season long to have a chance to compete in the NL East.  A lot can happen over the course of 162 games and this slideshow will outline some of the key events that I believe will mark the upcoming season.

So without further ado, here are my 7 bold predictions for the Phillies’ 2013 season.

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How Will Carlos Ruiz’s Suspension Affect the Philadelphia Phillies?

Carlos Ruiz’s suspension means much more than missing 25 games. The Philadelphia Phillies are losing their field general and leader for the entire month of April.

Philly.com reported that Carlos Ruiz tested positive for the drug Adderall, a substance banned by Major League Baseball.  Jim Salisbury also tweeted this must have been Chooch’s second failing since the first failing does not warrant a suspension.

What does this mean for Phillies?

Unfortunately, this is a blow for the organization.

April games are just as important as September and October. It’s not easy to climb back from the basement of a competitive NL East.

April is also an important month for a pitchers and catchers to find their chemistry.

Even though we are talking about major league players, it still takes time for a pitcher and catcher to develop into regular-season form. Yes, the Phillies have spring training, but the beginning of the regular season is where longer innings occur and every pitch counts.

Chooch missing this first month stalls this process and can potentially weigh heavily on the pitchers’ psyches. Pitchers are known to be fragile creatures and become comfortable with their battery mate.  Anyone remember the Adam Eaton-Chris Coste relationship?

Ruiz’s suspension also means missing a much-needed right-handed batter in the lineup. Simply put, he fit nicely in the fifth spot.  Ruiz safely hit behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and had many opportunities to produce runs.The fifth spot could be a “sore spot” come April.

Erik Kratz will likely fill in during Ruiz’s absence, which he is no stranger to doing, but he cannot replace Chooch—even if it’s only for one month.

Last, this is a black eye for the organization. Ruiz appeared to be a clean, intelligent player, but this will taint his career and the Phils organization for some time.

The Phillies are not in panic mode, nor should the club be, but Ruben Amaro Jr. and the organization must now understand the importance and disappointment that comes along with the Ruiz suspension.

In an offseason where the Phillies look to regain elite status, this is a step in the wrong direction.

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Phillies Catcher Carlos Ruiz Suspended 25 Games for Positive Drug Test

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz will reportedly be suspended for the first 25 games of the 2013 MLB season for the use of amphetamines, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Nightengale tweeted on Tuesday:


You can only be suspended for the use of amphetamines if it’s your second offense, meaning Ruiz has already been caught before.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweeted:


Ruiz released a statement in response, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN:

I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant. I apologize to my teammates, the Phillies organization and the Philadelphia fans. I will serve the imposed 25-game suspension to begin the season and I look forward to returning to the field and working toward bringing a championship back to Philadelphia in 2013.

This is a big blow for the Phillies franchise. The 33-year-old backstop batted .325 with 16 home runs, 68 RBI and 56 runs scored in 114 games for the Phillies in 2012, earning his first All-Star selection in the process.

Erik Kratz, a 2002 29th-round pick, was the backup to Ruiz. He batted .248 last season with nine home runs, 26 RBI and 14 runs scored in 50 games.

Philadelphia went 81-81 last season, missing the playoffs for the first year since 2006. It ranked eighth in the National League in runs scored, and that was with Ruiz in the lineup for 114 games.

Ruiz went undrafted in 1998 and first played with the Phillies in 2006. The Panamanian has been a key component not only for the offense, but also for a pitching staff that includes Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

Major League Baseball simply cannot seem to get the use of performance-enhancing drugs under control. We saw former San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera get suspended for 50 games last season. He batted .346 before his suspension.

Despite all of this, Cabrera still received a two-year, $16 million deal from the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason. When players are rewarded for cheating, it’s no wonder why they continue to use PEDs despite the potential to get suspended by the league.

We can only hope that this issue is curbed.

So far, it still appears prevalent.


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Carlos Ruiz Possibly Headed to the Disabled List; Implications for Phillies

Aside from the free-swinging Hunter Pence, the only other constant within the Philadelphia Phillies‘ positional depth chart has been the catcher we all know as Chooch. Unfortunately, Carlos Ruiz may have to spend some time on the DL.

Ruiz strained his left oblique during Friday night’s ball game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel has declared that Ruiz will have to rest a few games. On the other hand, we will know the extent of the oblique strain today as the Phillies re-evaluate their slugging backstop. Following Saturday’s re-evaluation will be a determination as to whether or not the organization will place Ruiz on the DL.

Meanwhile, the Phillies have already re-called catcher Erik Kratz from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the full-time job has already been given to Brian Schneider while Ruiz is ailing.

Of course, a Ruiz injury will just follow suit to everything else that has happened to the Phillies since last October. Injuries to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, Jose Contreras, Freddy Galvis and so on have given the Phillies’ roster more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese.

Sprinkle in an oblique strain for Ruiz and it is time for the Phillies to come out and say what everyone is thinking—it’s time to sell.

Many folks have called this season a lost season. In a previous article, I discussed how the Phillies could save this season by preparing the roster for a return to a high level of competitiveness for 2013.

The loss of Ruiz, who is hitting .362 with eight home runs and 35 RBI, would be decimating.

What is more important is that Ruiz provided stability against left-handed pitchers, hitting .409 on the year with only five strike outs.

I don’t even have to touch on the magic that Ruiz performs behind home plate, either. He is one of the top defensive backstops in all of baseball.

While nothing has been confirmed yet, a loss of Ruiz would definitively place the Phillies in a position where they must begin shopping the like’s of Shane Victorino, Jim Thome, Joe Blanton, and (gulp) Cole Hamels.

Baseball is a business and the business environment of 2012 has been harsh for the Philadelphia Phillies. Now is the time to make the tough decisions and put the Phillies in a better place for 2013.

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Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Reasons to Believe the Phillies Can Still Take NL East

At the quarter pole of the 2012 season, the Philadelphia Phillies find themselves in unfamiliar territory—staring up at the rest of the National League East.  And while the Phightins are off to their slowest start in the last five years, there’s still reason to believe Philadelphia can claim its sixth consecutive division crown.  

Here are five good reasons to believe.

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Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Players Making Statements in 2012

After starting out 2012 sluggishly, the Philadelphia Phillies have put the pedal to the medal over the last week, winning six straight games and seven out of eight against San Diego, Houston, Chicago, and now Boston.

There have been plenty of disappointments so far—Chad Qualls, John Mayberry Jr, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino—but plenty of Phillies have made inroads in their careers as they soar past expectations.

The offense seems back on track, with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley set to return within the next six weeks, the starting pitching is as solid as ever and the fielding hasn’t dipped since last year with the exception of a few extreme cases. Even though they are four games back and last in the division, this team seems poised to make a run thanks to a handful of players making the most of their playing time. 

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