At Baseball Nation, Grant Brisbee searched for the next Lou Whitaker — as he put it, “the player that seems like a no-doubt Hall of Famer to us nerds right now, but who will fade from the collective memory of voters during the five-year grace period, possibly dropping off the ballot in the first year.”
Back in November, the Phillies signed catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year, $26 million contract with a fourth year club option for $4.5 million. Given the recent 25-year, $2.5 billion TV deal the Phillies just signed with Comcast SportsNet, the team won’t be hurt too much even if Ruiz provides little value on the contract over the duration of those three guaranteed years. Still, the Phillies should be preparing for Ruiz, soon to be 35 years old, to decline.
In fact, Ruiz has already shown signs of decline. Bothered by plantar fasciitis and a strained right hamstring, Ruiz posted an adjusted OPS of 90, his lowest mark since 2008. His walk rate dropped to a career-low five percent after being as high as 13 percent in 2010. His .100 ISO tied for his lowest mark over the last five years and his .291 BABIP was also his lowest since 2009, a result of consistently making weaker contact.