The Phillies announced Thursday they have agreed to a three-year, $26 million deal with catcher Carlos Ruiz (news of the deal first came out Monday).
Ruiz, who turns 35 in January, had been on the free-agent market and drew attention from Colorado and Boston. His new contract with the Phillies includes a fourth-year club option. Ruiz can make an additional $500,000 per year if he starts 125 games behind the plate. His career high is 113 starts at catcher.
“Numerous times we’ve stated Carlos’ importance to our ballclub,” general manager Ruben Amaro said in a statement released by the team. “Not only does he combine excellent defense with offensive production, but the last couple years he has developed into a clubhouse leader and someone who is relied upon, not just by the pitchers he works with but by young position players, as well. Carlos is a championship-caliber player at a premium position and we are very happy to have him as a Phillie for 2014 and beyond.”
Ruiz rebounded from a slow start last season to hit .268 with 16 doubles, five home runs and 37 RBIs in 92 games. He began the season by serving a 25-game suspension for testing positive in 2012 for using Adderall, a drug used to treat attention deficit disorder, without Major League Baseball approval.
Ruiz has been with the Phillies organization since 1998, when he signed as an amateur free agent out of Panama for $8,000. That same year, the Phillies gave No. 1 draft pick Pat Burrell $8 million. Ruiz rose to the majors, became the favorite catcher of Phillies pitchers, helped the team win a World Series in 2008 and made his first all-star team in 2012. He recently completed a four-year contract that paid him $13.35 million.
Earlier Thursday, the Phillies ended their long search for a pitching coach by hired Bob McClure (see story).