Phillies decline to extend offers to Halladay, Ruiz
BOTH CARLOS RUIZ and Roy Halladay hit the open market shortly after midnight.
The Phillies did not extend qualifying offers to either before yesterday's 5 p.m. deadline. Both are free agents who can sign with any team, including the Phillies.
By not extending a qualifying offer, the Phillies will not receive a compensatory pick if and when Ruiz and Halladay sign elsewhere. But the Phils also won't be on the hook to pay either $14.1 million, per rules of Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement.
The value of the qualifing offer each year is determined by taking the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players in baseball. This year, that number is $14.1 million.
If either Ruiz or Halladay was tendered that qualifying offer, they could choose to return to the Phillies for what would amount to a 1-year, $14.1 million deal.
Halladay obviously was not a candidate to receive a qualifying offer.
The former two-time Cy Young Award winner turns 37 in May and is coming off shoulder surgery. Halladay was 15-13 with a 5.15 ERA in 38 starts in the last two seasons.
Ruiz, on the other hand, could be in for a decent payday on the open market, where several teams are looking for catching upgrades.
The Denver Post reported Sunday that the Colorado Rockies have interest in Ruiz. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves are also in the market for catchers. Ruiz is arguably the second-most attractive free-agent catcher after Atlanta All-Star Brian McCann.
Both Ruiz and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke hopefully about reaching a new contract when the 2013 season ended. And perhaps the Phillies are confident that still can happen, since the alternative now is being left without a catcher and without the pick they would receive if Ruiz signs elsewhere.
Ruiz made $5 million in 2013, the final year of a 4-year deal that paid him $13.35 million. Ruiz hit .295 with an .810 OPS over the life of that contract, but played in a career-low 92 games this season after serving a 25-game suspension tied to a failed drug test for using Adderall and missing another month with a hamstring injury.
In a market where teams value high-talented players under club control, compensatory picks are not to be taken lightly. After watching Albert Pujols sign with the Angels two winters ago, the St. Louis Cardinals used their compensatory first-round pick that June to select righthander Michael Wacha, who became a pivotal member of their rotation this summer.
Although the Phils would have run the risk of Ruiz accepting the $14.1 million qualifying offer, the catcher is likely to receive multiyear offers that exceed that amount. Since the injury-plagued Ruiz turns 35 this winter, there is no guarantee he would be an attractive free agent again this time next year.
Around baseball, qualifying offers were made to Carlos Beltran, Robinson Cano, Shin Soo-Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson, Nelson Cruz and Brian McCann, among others. All of those players have a week to accept the offer or decline it and become free agents.
Teams that sign any of those players forfeit their top picks, which makes those players somewhat less attractive on the open market.
Kyle Lohse, for example, went unsigned until the last week of March last offseason in part because teams were reluctant to part with their top pick to sign him. The New York Mets had interest in Michael Bourn last winter, but would have had to surrender the 11th overall pick had they signed him.
The Phillies can move forward this winter without that fear: The top 10 picks are protected. After finishing with the seventh-worst record in baseball in 2013, the Phillies have the seventh overall pick in June's amateur draft.
On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21