Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 9/6/13
Nationalsphillies_db0e
The Phillies have a multitude of roster-related problems to solve this offseason, as Ian Riccaboni pointed out, but the catching situation is perhaps the most interesting. Carlos Ruiz is set to become a free agent, and while his early struggles rendered his return less likely, his .330/.375/.536 line since August 1 makes him an attractive option. While prospects Tommy Joseph and Sebastian Valle have disappointed, Cameron Rupp earned a September call-up, Gabriel Lino posted decent context-neutral numbers in Low-A as a 20-year old, and the Phils are very high on second-round pick Andrew Knapp. It’s possible that Rupp or Knapp seizes the catching reins as soon as 2015 but that still leaves next year as a question mark. While the Phillies have been major players in free agency in recent years, the upcoming catching crop is fairly thin, and is loaded with career backups. Trades for starting catchers are also fairly rare as it’s a tough position to develop and maintain. All things considered, the ideal situation is to retain Carlos Ruiz for one more season. With Rupp and Knapp on the horizon and a rebuild in order it’s not prudent to re-sign Chooch to a multi-year deal. However, it’s likely that he will receive a multi-year offer from someone else, as one of the top two free agent catchers. Extending Ruiz the qualifying offer would seemingly solve the problem on both sides. If he accepts, having him around for 1 yr/$14 million isn’t the worst thing in the world. After all, the Phillies problem is typically guaranteeing too many years, whereas I would have gladly paid certain players more money per annum if the deals were shorter. If he declines, the Phillies will at least receive some form of compensation when he departs for greener pastures. If he declines, they can pair a prospect with a veteran backup and go from there. While Ruiz served a suspension earlier in the year and struggled out of the gate, he has torn up the league lately and remains atop the list of free agent catchers. From 2011-13, his 9.7 WAR leads the group by a relatively healthy margin over Brian McCann‘s 8.4. While it’s easy to assume that Ruiz’s advantage stems from McCann’s health issues in recent years, consider that the latter has actually played in 14 more games over this three-year span. Since 2011, Ruiz has his .297/.369/.440, with a +5 fielding rating. McCann is at .256/.331/.447, with a +6 rating behind the plate. These are, statistically, the top two free agent catchers this offseason. McCann will absolutely sign a multi-year deal but the Phillies have no need to sign another aging player to a big deal. McCann is also a lefty and the Phils are loaded with them. After Ruiz and McCann comes A.J. Pierzynski (old, left-handed) at 6.1 WAR and Jarrod Saltalamacchia at 5.9 WAR. Salty is young, and while he has had a decent season, he isn’t particularly great at anything. Though he switch-hits, he strikes out 30% of the time. Then the list gets pretty ugly, with guys like John Buck, Geovany Soto, Kelly Shoppach and Kurt Suzuki, before giving way to the ugliness that is Ramon Hernandez, Humberto Quintero, Rod Barajas, Henry Blanco, Brayan Pena, and basically anyone else you would associate with being Greg Maddux‘s personal catcher if he were still around. Ruiz represents the best option of all these players, even if he remains a .280/.330/.390 hitter moving forward. That bat has plenty of value when coupled with his upper echelon defensive skills and game-calling, and while $14 million is slightly higher than the value of the 2-2.5 WAR he figures to provide, it’s not that outlandish, all things considered. If it means retaining a solid backstop without hindering the development of prospects who could legitimately take over the role the following season, the qualifying offer is absolutely worth extending. And just remember, if he declines, there are worse things than pairing Rupp with, say, Gerald Laird for a year before reevaluating the situation. Chooch realistically doesn’t have much of a future with the Phillies, but if he’s willing to accept a one-year deal, that willingness is absolutely worth the difference between the $10-$11 million in projected value and the $14 million qualifying offer.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

World Cup semifinals preview: US-Japan, Germany-England

Tim Duncan to help Spurs pitch LaMarcus Aldridge

Report: Knicks gave up on signing Marc Gasol 'long ago'

Kings terminate Mike Richards' contract due to 'breach'

Report: Nets believe they can trade Deron Williams

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mickelson likely committed no crime even if he gambled

Report: Dwyane Wade to decline option, become a free agent

Darren McFadden: I feel like a rookie again

Report: Mavericks a favorite to land DeAndre Jordan

Report: Kevin Love likely to re-sign with Cavaliers

Bo Ryan announces he'll coach Wisconsin one more season

Top seven storylines entering free agency around the NBA

Former FSU mascot killed in argument over gumbo recipe

Royals slipping in ASG voting, lose two more starters

Fred Smoot: I played with gay players, 'everyone knew'

Bobby Portis brings donuts for media at press conference

John Calipari shares his thoughts on Confederate flag

Steve Weatherford, Jason Kelce get into Twitter beef

Larry Nance Jr. apologized to 'Mr. Bryant' for rapist tweet

J.J. Watt 'tackles' stage crasher at Zac Brown Band show

Jimmy Butler reportedly wants to leave Bulls, sign with Lakers

Selecting the 2015 National League All-Stars

Taking a look at the Philadelphia Sixers' latest horde

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Projected landing spots for NBA's top free agents

MLB changes format for Home Run Derby

Revis to work out with Patriots DBs

Peterson: I'm still NFL's best RB

Kobe gives great quote on friendship

Winners, losers and steals of the NHL Draft

Carmelo calls Porzingis a 'steal'

WATCH: J.J. Watt scores hockey goal

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.