Avoiding arbitration totally for the second year in a row, the Phillies signed Carlos Ruiz, their final arbitration eligible player. Chooch will be manning the back-stop for at least three more years with a contract worth 8.85 million, plus a 5 million dollar option for a 4th year. Ruiz has been the little engine who could at the end of this Phillies line-up for some time now. Keeping him on board with the rest of the crew through 2012 adds even more stability to the team.
Earlier this week, the Phillies also signed veteran right-hander Jose Contreras to a deal worth about 1 million for one year. The deal is pending a physical, of course. A starter most of his career, the 39-year old Contreras has a lifetime 4.61 ERA which includes time spent with Colorado last year and the White Sox and Yankees before that. He won the World Series in 2005 with the Sox. Another fun tidbit; Contreras will join pitcher Danys Baez as the second Cuban defector to be acquired by the Phillies this offseason.
All the signings this month mean that 7 of our 8 starting position players are now signed at least through 2011. The lone wolf in the bunch is right fielder, Jayson Werth who is signed only through this coming season. It is thought that, unless he gets hurt or has a very bad year, the Phillies will be unable to afford Werth after 2010. While Jayson is certainly Werth-Y of big bucks, there are just too many youngsters, like highly-touted prospect Dominic Brown, waiting in the wings to justify the additional expense. Rumor has it that Werth may command a salary near 16 million a year. The Phils budget simply will not be able to hold him.
Anything can happen, of course. That is, anything except for the Phillies budget jumping to Yankee-like numbers. That being said, Werth being with us long-term does not look very likely. Well, we will just have to worry about that next year…
Photo by Jenn