Free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz will remain with the only team he has ever played for, according to a report. Ruiz has inked a three-year, $26 million deal to stay with the Phillies, Jon Heyman confirms.
Heyman reports there is a fourth-year option on the deal for $4.5 million with a $500,000 buyout, along with a limited no-trade clause.
Ruiz will turn 35 in January and is coming off a down year in which he served a 25-game suspension for a failed drug test (amphetamines). He hit .268/.320/.368 with five home runs and 37 RBI. In 2012, Ruiz hit .325/.394/.540 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs and 68 RBI, making his first All-Star team and garnering some MVP votes.
The Rockies, Red Sox and Blue Jays -- among a few others -- were connected in rumors to Ruiz earlier this offseason. Heyman reports that it was a "very close call" between the Phillies and Red Sox.
Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski remain the top three catchers on the market, but with Ruiz gone, Dioner Navarro. John Buck, Jose Molina and Kurt Suzuki become the next most attractive names after the top three.