The Philadelphia Phillies hoped for a rebound this season and it didn't happen. Looking toward next season, there are some roster uncertainties. But, Carlos Ruiz' second-half efforts might be removing doubt from the catcher's position.
The veteran bided his time during a season-opening suspension and then returned to play on April 28. Then, a mid-May hamstring injury sidelined him through mid-June, which surely didn't help his offensive flow.
'Chooch' certainly didn't want to be tagged as a banned substance abuser by Major League Baseball after having a career year in 2012. The overlap of both events was seen by many as no coincidence and appeared to reveal his big bat as nothing more than a burst balloon. Then, something interesting happened.
As the 34-year-old worked his way back into playing shape this season his average increased. While the Phillies' fell out of the pennant race, Ruiz began to hit the ball with command again.
As his detractors were rendered mute, or continued to believe that he never stopped using Adderall, all focused minds naturally wondered if the eight-year veteran was actually making a bid for an employment extension?
Considering Ruiz' consistent defensive presence, other backstop options that will be available and the organization's past penchant for sticking with fan favorites who are still generally productive, it's fair to conclude that the odds of number 51 receiving a contract extension have risen sharply since the spring. Whether he and the Phillies will reach an agreement is another question for a future digital space.