Aside from the Phillies signing Marlon Byrd to a 2 year deal, the big news in baseball yesterday was that an unknown team has offered Carlos Ruiz a 2 year/$20 million contract. Nobody knows quite who made the offer, but there are rumored to be four teams interested in Ruiz– the Rockies, Phillies, Blue Jays, and of course, the Red Sox. The Rockies are out of this mystery, as they are rumored to have already offered a 2 year/$15 million deal, which leaves the Blue Jays, Phillies, and Sox.
With Jarrod Saltalamacchia heading to free agency, the Red Sox have a vacancy at catcher and Ruiz is the perfect fit. He will be a solid offensive player (Ruiz is a career .274/.358/.412 hitter) and is regarded as an excellent defensive catcher. Plus, unlike Brian McCann, the Red Sox would be able to sign him to a short and relatively cheap deal.
A short and cheap deal is important because of the abundance of strong catching in the Red Sox farm system. Both Blake Swihart (.298/.366/.428 in High-A Salem last year) and Christian Vazquez (.287/.375/.391 between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket) are highly-regarded catching prospects around baseball.
That tandem will likely be ready for the major leagues in roughly two years, meaning Ruiz would effectively bridge the gap if he were to sign a two-year contract. For the duration of this contract, if he could just play to his career averages or even slightly below, he will serve his purpose. He would give the Red Sox excellent defense, likely improving their pitching, and wouldn’t damage the offense with so many great bats around him. The Red Sox are expected to be big players for Ruiz, and I’d like to see them pursue him further.