As expected the Phillies have exercised their $5 million team option on catcher Carlos Ruiz for next season.
Among the biggest no-brainer decisions of the offseason, as the 33-year-old Ruiz is coming off a career-year in which he hit .325 with 16 homers and a .935 OPS in 114 games. He’d previously never reached double-digit homers or topped an .850 OPS.
Ruiz will be eligible for free agency after 2013, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Phillies try to keep him off the open market with an extension. On one hand he’s been hugely valuable and a key part of Philadelphia’s success over the years. On the other hand he’s already 33 years old and the career-year means his asking price may never have been higher.
In the meantime he’s a helluva bargain for 2013.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.