The Red Sox and Phillies are facing a similar situation in that their respective starting catchers are free agents. Now, it sounds like Boston might be keeping tabs on what’s going on in the City of Brotherly Love.
According to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury, the Red Sox are “quietly doing their due diligence” on catcher Carlos Ruiz, who has spent his entire eight-year career in Philadelphia.
Ruiz figures to garner plenty of interest on the open market. Salisbury suggests that the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rangers and Angels could all be looking to upgrade at catcher, while The Denver Post reports that the Rockies are interested in Ruiz. The Red Sox’ potential interest, of course, hinges on whether they re-sign catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is also a free agent after spending that last three-plus seasons in Boston.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington on Monday expressed interest in re-signing all four of the club’s major free agents, including Saltalamacchia, and manager John Farrell said during a radio interview on WEEI on Wednesday that Salty “absolutely” has a future in Boston. The Red Sox did not offer Saltalamacchia a $14.1 million qualifying offer, though, so there certainly exists the possibility that he won’t be back, in which case Boston might seek another veteran catcher to play alongside David Ross. The Red Sox’ most likely in-house option is 26-year-old Ryan Lavarnway, who played in 46 games in 2012 and 25 games in 2013.
Salisbury also notes in his article that the Phillies would like to re-sign Ruiz, who turns 35 in January. Not only has Ruiz been a stalwart behind the plate since breaking into the majors in 2006, but the Phillies don’t have anyone who could step into the role of starting catcher right away.
?He is a priority just because of the position,? Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. reportedly said at season?s end. ?We don’t have anybody who is going to step in. [Cameron] Rupp has done a nice job. [Erik] Kratz, when he played, did OK. But I can’t anoint either one of those guys as an everyday catcher.?
Ruiz, who dealt with injuries and a 25-game suspension for testing positive for Adderall, hit .268 with five home runs, 37 RBIs and a .320 on-base percentage in 2013. He was an All-Star in 2012, though, and has a history of compiling high on-base percentages while handling his pitching staffs well.