Results tagged ‘ Carlos Ruiz ’
“We’ve already made offers on several players,” he said from Arizona, where he is watching some of the organization’s top young talent in the Arizona Fall League.
Amaro declined to divulge names, but he can be aggressive. He moved quickly in Nov. 2011, when he signed closer Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract. Knowing there is a lack of power hitters available, perhaps Amaro is making a push to sign one. They need right-handed hitters in the worst way.
Nelson Cruz, 33, fits the bill. He hits right-handed, although he served a 50-game suspension last season and is not a defensive stalwart. Amaro has stressed the Phillies need to improve its outfield defense.
Carlos Beltran and Mike Morse also are free agents. The Phillies have tried to acquire them in the past. (Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said yesterday on SiriusXM that one team already has made an offer to Beltran.) The two biggest free-agent outfielders are Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo, but they are expected to sign elsewhere.
Amaro said in September resigning catcher Carlos Ruiz was a top priority, but he couched that possibility this week.
“Well, we’re fortunate now that it’s kind of opened up,” Amaro said of the free-agent market. “There are several candidates that could be our catcher next year. We’ll see what happens. I mean, we’re in the open season.”
If the Phillies cannot resign Ruiz, there are options like Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski. But McCann hits left-handed and seems destined to join an American League team. Pierzynski also hits left-handed, and Saltalamacchia is a switch-hitter that has a career .599 OPS hitting from the right side.
The Phillies could sign a less expensive catcher like Dioner Navarro, which would allow them to spend money elsewhere. But Ruiz seems like the best of the bunch, although he turns 35 in January and is coming off his worst offensive season since 2008.
The Phillies also are trying to upgrade their pitching staff, but if Amaro is trying to be aggressive, improving an anemic offense – the Phillies tied for 26th in baseball with just 610 runs scored – might be the place to start.
UPDATE: Wanted to clarify something about Freedman. He is not a full-time Phillies employee. MLB is paying his salary as part of a partnership with the Phillies, although the Phillies have the opportunity to hire him permanently once his externship concludes before the beginning of the regular season.
Ruben Amaro Jr. settled into one of the blue seats a few rows from the field Saturday afternoon at Turner Field. He munched on sunflower seeds as Scott Proefrock, one of his assistant general managers, sat in the row behind him.
The Phillies had two games remaining in their disappointing 2013 season, their first losing season since 2002, but it seemed as good a time as any to look back at the team’s misfortunes and discuss ways they can improve the future. In a wide-ranging interview with the team’s traveling beat writers, Amaro discussed everything from the heat he is feeling from fans, increasing the organization’s use of analytics in player evaluation, finding an everyday right fielder, payroll and making sure they do not enter next season crossing their fingers and hoping a multitude of things go perfectly to have a chance to win.
“I always feel under the gun,” Amaro said. “I put myself under the gun. I don’t listen to a lot of it. But listen, I’m the GM of the club, so I fully expect to take heat for it. I’m the one making the decisions on player personnel. I’m accountable for the things that have happened. I didn’t have a very good year; our team didn’t have a very good year. I think we win as a team and lose as a team. The fact of the matter is that I should take a lot of heat for it. I need to be better, and our guys need to be better. We need to evaluate better, we need to make better decisions and try to create a little better mojo overall.”
The front office has missed in its player evaluations in recent seasons. Once Jayson Werth left as a free agent in 2010, the Phillies entered subsequent seasons counting on Ben Francisco, John Mayberry Jr. and Delmon Young to be productive right-handed bats in the outfield.
Since they signed relievers Chan Ho Park and Jose Contreras to one-year contracts before the 2009 and 2010 seasons, respectively, free-agent relievers Danys Baez, Chad Qualls, Chad Durbin and Mike Adams haven’t panned out. The Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract a couple years ago, but they found no takers before the July 31 Trade Deadline as his velocity and performance have dipped.
In the midst of that, the Phillies released reliever Jason Grilli from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2011. He has been a force in the Pirates bullpen the past three seasons.
“We’re going to make some changes,” Amaro said. “I think we’re doing some stuff analytically to change the way do some evaluations. Look, we are going to continue to be a scouting organization. That said, I think we owe it to ourselves to look at some other ways to evaluate. We’re going to build more analytics into it. Is it going to change dramatically the way we go about our business? No, but we owe it to ourselves to at least explore other avenues. We may bring someone in from the outside, but we have not decided that yet.”
He caught the final pitch in the 2008 World Series, called the final pitch of Roy Halladay’s perfect game in 2010, made the throw to first base for the final out in Halladay’s postseason no-hitter that same season and caught many more memorable games throughout his eight-year Phillies career.
But as Chase Utley prepared to sign a two-year contract extension as early as today, Ruiz’s future with the Phillies remains a mystery. He will be a free agent following the season, and it is far from certain he returns. He turn 35 in January, he has spent each of the past five seasons on the disabled list and he is in the midst of his worst offensive season since 2008, which comes on the heels of a 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant.
But the Phillies also have nobody in their system ready to replace him on an everyday basis. If the Phillies decide to part ways with Ruiz they will have to find somebody on the free-agent market or through a trade.
“That’s not in my hands right now,” Ruiz said today. “I just want to finish the season strong. That’s not in my head right now. I can only control what I do on the field.”
Ruiz has hit two doubles and two home runs since July 29 to raise his OPS from .581 to .638, which is still the lowest mark since he posted a .620 OPS in 2008. He started the season on the suspended list, came back for a few weeks, then landed on the disabled list for a few more weeks because of a strained right hamstring.
He is expected to be sidelined three to four weeks based on the size and location of the tear.
The Phillies selected catcher Humberto Quintero’s contract from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Ruiz’s place on the roster. The Phillies placed right-hander Mike Adams on the disabled list with a strained back to make room for Quintero. Right-hander Tyler Cloyd will take Ruiz’s spot on the roster tomorrow.
Ruiz injured the hamstring running the bases in the second inning Sunday in a 3-2 victory over the Reds at Citizens Bank Park. He had hit .235 (12-for-51) with two doubles and two RBIs in 16 games after missing the first 25 games of the season because of a suspension for using a banned stimulant, although he had hit .325 (10-for-31) in his previous 10 games.
Phillies catchers have a .582 on-base-plus-slugging percentage this season, which ranks 27th in baseball. They were counting on Ruiz to boost that position upon his contract, but he lasted less than a month.
“We were comfortable with the (catching) situation we had to start the season,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “Q did a good job for us. I think we’re comfortable with what we have. We’re not going to stop looking, but I don’t think we’re actively out there pursuing anything. But you keep your eyes and ears open.”
Ruiz is serving a 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant. Assuming there are no postponements in the Phillies’ schedule, Ruiz can join the Phillies on Sunday against the Mets at Citi Field.
Phillies catchers have a combined .614 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, which ranked 25th in baseball entering tonight’s games. Ruiz has a career .781 OPS and a career-high .935 OPS last season.
X-rays came back negative. The Phillies said he is day to day.
That is a big relief. Ruiz is serving his 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant, but is eligible to rejoin the team April 28 against the Mets at Citi Field. They need him back badly. Phillies catchers have a .480 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, which is the third-worst mark in baseball.
Only the Marlins (.446) and Reds (.430) have gotten less production from their catchers.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz is still serving his 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant, and is eligible to rejoin the team April 28 against the Mets at Citi Field. But the Phillies could use him much earlier than that. Phillies catchers entered tonight’s game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park with a .486 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, which ranked 29th in baseball. Only Reds catchers (.326 OPS) have been worse.
Phillies catchers had an .861 OPS last season, which was the best in baseball. Ruiz has a career .781 OPS with a career-high .935 OPS last season.
Humberto Quintero is scheduled to catch Kyle Kendrick tonight. He entered the night hitting .222 (2-for-9) with one double. Erik Kratz entered the night hitting .171 (7-for-41) with two doubles, one home run and three RBIs.
Asked if he might use these final 12 days to evaluate his catchers, Charlie Manuel said, “They can count. When people start coming back we’re going to have to make some changes on our roster.”
But Manuel added anytime any of his hitters feel like stringing together some hits he will take it.
He got hit in his left hand with a pitch in the ninth inning last night in a Grapefruit League game against the Boston Red Sox in Ft. Myers. The Phillies called it a bruise, which seemed to be confirmed Friday when x-rays came back negative.
“Today it felt great,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz has been suspended the first 25 games of the season after testing positive for a banned stimulant. He is eligible to play in his first regular-season game April 28 against the New York Mets at Citi Field. He is eligible to begin a rehab assignment April 23.
He took a seat on a picnic bench, just outside the Phillies clubhouse at Bright House Field. Reporters and TV cameras surrounded him as planes buzzed overhead, generators whirred and wind whipped the palm trees nearby. The words coming from the typically soft-spoken Ruiz’s mouth were barely audible, but intentionally or unintentionally he repeated his message so everybody eventually heard what he had to say about his 25-game suspension following the use of Adderall, which is in violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Ruiz got emotional at the end, his eyes welling up.
“Everybody,” he said, “I feel so sorry. It’s very difficult, having to explain. I love baseball. I love my city, Philadelphia, and Panama. I want to do my best and show everybody … I’ll do my best.”
Ruiz got caught twice using Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But Major League Baseball bans it because it is an amphetamine, unless a player receives a therapeutic use exemption.
Ruiz did not have the exemption.
“I got caught two times, and I have to pay for that,” he said. “I want to put that behind and now focus on this year and give it 100 percent for the city and organization.”
Asked if he would try to receive a theraputic use exemption for Addreall, Ruiz said, “That’s something that’s between my doctor and me. Major League Baseball has rules, and when you make a mistake, you’re going to pay. So I’ll pay my 25 games, and I apologize to my teammates, my organization, my family and fans, and I’m ready to put everything behind and get ready for the regular season.”
Ruiz will be able to participate in Spring Training workouts and Grapefruit League games in Florida in February and March. He also will be allowed to take batting practice before the gates open before regular-season games. He is eligible to begin a rehab assignment five days before the end of his suspension, which would be April 23.
He is eligible to rejoin the team April 28 against the Mets at Citi Field.
But what player will he be once he returns?
Ruiz, who will forfeit about $770,000 of his $5 million salary, had a career season in 2012, hitting .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, a .394 on-base percentage, a .540 slugging percentage and a .935 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. But some will view those numbers skeptically considering the help he received artificially.
“I am working really hard,” said Ruiz, when asked if he can put up similar numbers without the help of amphetamines. “I trust myself to put up some good numbers. But at the same time, baseball is baseball. You have to work hard every day, and when you work hard, you get a lot of good things.”
Ruiz, 34, will be a free agent after this season, which means this is a big year for him. He hopes it ends better than it began Wednesday.
“I feel so bad for this,” he said. “I’m trying to put everything behind me and do my best this year and bring a championship back to Philadelphia.”
MLB.com ranks the Phillies’ top 20 prospects.
Catcher Tommy Joseph ranks third in the system behind left-hander Jesse Biddle and right-hander Ethan Martin. Joseph will be interesting to watch in 2013. He will be competing with Sebastian Valle (ranked eighth) for the starting catching job with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. If Joseph wins the job and makes great strides this season, you wonder how the Phillies will view Carlos Ruiz‘s impending free agency? Ruiz is 34, so he isn’t young anymore. If Joseph looks great at Triple-A and Ruiz struggles following his 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant, which way will the Phillies lean? Ruiz is immensely popular in the Phillies clubhouse. The pitchers love him. Everybody respects him. But the Phillies need to start getting younger. Maybe they look there.
How does MLB.com come up with its Top 100 Prospect rankings?
This year it spoke to 25 individuals in the industry: scouting directors, scouts, front office executives, etc. Those 25 talent evaulators then ranked their top 50 prospects in a format similar to an AP college football or basketball poll. The No. 1 player on each person’s list receives 50 points. The No. 2 player receives 49 points. The 50th player receives one point. You get the idea. Jesse Biddle ranked 60th overall and Ethan Martin ranked 80th. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo said he originally had Martin ranked lower in the Phillies’ organizational rankings, but moved him up based on the opinions of those talent evaluators putting together their top 50 lists. Interesting stuff.