Ruiz has been behind the plate for many memorable moments in recent seasons. In fact, he has started every postseason game for the Phillies the past three years. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park, where he announced Ruiz had signed a three-year, $8.85 million contract extension, that he hopes Ruiz will be behind the plate for many more.
Ruiz hopes so, too.
"I'm really excited to be here in Philly," Ruiz said.
The contract buys out Ruiz's three years of salary arbitration, and includes a fourth-year club option worth $5 million. If Philadelphia picks up that option, it would buy out Ruiz's first year of free agency.
That is important because after they traded catching prospects Lou Marson to Cleveland in July for Cliff Lee and Travis d'Arnaud to Toronto in December for Roy Halladay, the Phils do not have much catching depth in the upper tiers of their system.
But for the next two years, they know they have Ruiz and Brian Schneider, who signed a two-year contract.
Ruiz will make $1.9 million this season, $2.75 million in '11 and $3.7 million in '12. The club has a $500,000 buyout on its '13 option, or it will pay him $5 million. Ruiz also receives $100,000 performance bonuses for 120, 130 and 140 games started. Any of those bonuses reached in any year will be added to his '13 salary.
In the past week, the Phillies have signed Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino and Ruiz to three-year extensions. That not only locks them up, but it also gives the Phillies a better picture of how much money they can spend in the future.
"It helps you plan if you know how much money you have committed," Proefrock said.
Ruiz has hit .246 with 22 home runs and 138 RBIs in 366 games with the Phils, but they did not sign him to an extension because of his bat -- although both Proefrock and Ruiz think he can improve offensively. They love his defense and his game-calling skills.
The pitchers love working with him, too. In fact, it is not an understatement to say Ruiz might be one of the more popular players in the clubhouse. He works hard. He has a great demeanor. By all accounts, he is a great teammate.
A long time ago, Ruiz said he just wanted to make the big leagues. Now he's got a multimillion dollar contract as a respected, established catcher.
"I never thought that one day I'd have a contract in the big leagues," Ruiz said. "Now it's very special to me to have this contract."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less