Ruiz Last Starter to Sign

The Phillies locked up their catcher for the next three years as Carlos Ruiz and Phils agree to a three-year, $9 million deal pending a physical. The 31-year old became the third player to avoid arbitration after Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton were both signed to three-year deals. Chooch hit .255 with nine home runs and 43 RBI’s in 2009 in 107 games. He had an amazing post season where he batted .341 with two homers and nine RBI’s in 15 playoff games.

UPDATE: Todd Zolecki confirmed that Ruiz’s deal is worth $8.85 million for three years with an option for a fourth year at $5 million.

The next question the Phillies need to answer is what to do with Jayson Werth. Going into the 2010 with a $140 million payroll could force the Phillies to either look to make some trades to free up money, give Werth a lucrative contract and operate on a much higher payroll or perhaps go with Domonic Brown in right.

“We cannot operate with nothing but $15- to $20-million players,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said at Friday’s news conference announcing the Victorino signing at Citizens Bank Park. “And if there’s any indication how much the [Matt] Holliday and [Jason] Bay signings have on direct impact on where Werth may be at the end of this year, we’re going to have to sift through it and figure out what’s best for the organization, not just for the next couple years, but also long term.”

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