The Philadelphia Phillies have re-signed catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year, $26 million contract, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. A source confirms that the deal also includes a club option for 2017, as Gelb first reported.
According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, the contract will pay Ruiz $8.5 million in each of the next three seasons, and includes a $4.5 million option or $500K buyout for 2017. The source notes that Ruiz has a limited no-trade clause, and Stark adds that it allows him to block trades to four clubs.
After hitting .268 with 5 HR and 37 RBI in 92 games with Philadelphia in 2013, Ruiz joined catchers Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the most sought-after backstops on the free agent market. He drew significant interest from many teams, including the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rockies, and was rumored to have received a two-year, $20 million offer from an unidentified team. The Rockies seemed like an early favorite to sign him, but they ultimately bowed out because they would not increase their offer of a two-year, $15 million deal.
According to Stark, the Red Sox were involved in the bidding up until the end, but Philadelphia offered a guaranteed third year and a higer average annual value.
In eight years with the Phillies, "Chooch" is a lifetime .274 hitter with 57 HR and 336 RBI in 825 games. He was named to the National League All-Star team in 2012 en route to a career year in which he hit .325 with 16 HR and 68 RBI in 114 games.
The Phillies have been interested in a reunion with Ruiz since he became a free agent, but also expressed interest in other catching options as contingency plans. In addition to Saltalamacchia and McCann, Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan is expected to be traded, and likely drew interest from the Phillies over the last couple of weeks.
Ruiz is the second big-name free agent to sign with the Phillies this winter, joining outfielder Marlon Byrd. The team has expressed a willingness to be aggressive in their offseason plans, and are expected to target relief pitching as well as outfield options like Jacoby Ellsbury.