Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors on why Ruben Amaro overpaid Carlos Ruiz early in the offseason:
It’s easy to say Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. should have played hardball with Ruiz to save $3-4MM, and that might have been possible. Still, Ruiz is worth more to the Phillies because of his familiarity with their pitching staff, and Amaro would have faced limited alternatives had he tried to wait Ruiz out. Brian McCann would have required a much larger commitment, and it appears Jarrod Saltalamacchia will get more than $30MM. McCann, Saltalamacchia, andA.J. Pierzynski all bat left-handed, and the Phillies likely sought a right-handed bat for lineup balance even after signing Marlon Byrd. That basically leaves Dioner Navarro, a switch-hitter who hasn’t been a regular since 2009. The trade market is even more questionable, and the Phillies don’t have good internal options at catcher. The Phillies paid a premium to lock up Ruiz this early in the offseason, but the contract is still acceptable. The Winter Meetings are still three weeks away, and Amaro has already addressed two major holes in his lineup.
He’s already addressed two major holes with two major question marks.
I’m in agreement that signing Ruiz may have been necessary, since Brian McCann would be too expensive, A.J. Pierzynski is an asshole, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s nickname is Salt. Other than McCann, there wasn’t a clear-cut better option, and Ruiz is a very good defensive catcher (I actually would’ve called him excellent before last season– he seems to have taken a step backward there). But it’s hard to be at all excited about “addressing two major holes in his lineup” with Marlon Byrd, and Ruiz, who was already in the lineup. If Byrd repeats his 2013– great. But don’t count on it. There are so many red flags it’s not even funny. And Ruiz fell of a cliff last season. He’s got a lot of miles on that compact little body, and his big, slow swing isn’t the sort of thing that gets better with age.