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Phillies Exit Interview: Carlos Ruiz

Despite concerns entering 2014 over age, injuries, and his 2013 drop-off in production, Carlos Ruiz reminded us why he's a fan favorite with a return to form for the Phillies.

Just look at that smile!
Just look at that smile!
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the season, there was some mystery around Carlos Ruiz. Following a 2013 in which Chooch both missed time due to injuries/suspensions and saw a drop-off in production, many wondered whether we would see continued decline from the 35 year-old catcher. The pressure was on Carlos after the Phillies signed him to a 3 year extension in the offseason.

Ruiz easily quelled any production-related fears fans may have had entering the season as he clearly bounced back from a poor 2013. In 2013, Ruiz was clearly a below-average offensive catcher posting a .268/.320/.368 line, good for a 90 wRC+. By just about every offensive metric, Ruiz rated as an above average catcher. Among 31 catchers with at least 300 plate appearances, Ruiz ranked 7th in fWAR (3.2), 13th in both wOBA (.323) and wRC+ (105), and 16th in OPS (.717).

Most importantly, Carlos is a hit with the ladies as he is my girlfriend's longest tenured baseball crush and probably the only reason she tolerates my obsession with this sad organization. He joins us today to discuss his bounce-back season, his post-retirement plans with Roy Halladay, and his utter disrespect for the Phillies' organizational catching depth.

If I had traded you midseason, would the team have done better or worse?

You would have unquestionably done worse. I wasn't a superstar this season by any stretch, but I was a tick above average for a catcher. The same can't be said of my backups, Wil Nieves, Cameron Rupp, and Koyie Hill, who combined for a .232/.257/.310 (.567 OPS) line in 214 PA. Compare that to my .252/.347/.370 (.717 OPS) line and it's easy to imagine that, without me around, this team would have won fewer than 70 games.

All my options are open for next year. Should I trade you, release you, or keep you?

A year ago, you gave me a 3 year extension that will pay me $8.5M/yr through the end of 2016. That may sound like a lot to pay a catcher entering his age 36 season, but it's probably fair value for my abilities. We've been over the numbers my backups posted last year, and there is no one else in your system who could take my place next year. Plus, your pitchers love me. You don't want to piss off my boys Cole, Cliff, David, and (maybe) A.J. off do you?

Do you think you will be part of the next great Phillies team?

Probably not. I'm 35 years old and my current contract will expire before you're likely to contend again. It was plenty of fun being a part of the most recent great Phillies team.

Overall, explain to me how your time with the Philadelphia Phillies has been the highlight of your life.

Where do I begin? I won a World Series during my time here, that's probably a good place to start. I also, by the graces of Roy Halladay have caught a perfect game and a playoff no hitter. I also caught one of the 12 (or 13?) combined no-hitters in the history of baseball. I've been fortunate to catch great pitchers during most of my time here.

Maybe most importantly, I got to meet Roy Halladay, who never missed an opportunity to share his love for me with the world. His eventual Hall of Fame induction guarantees I'll be mentioned in an induction speech. He's promised me that he will insist on having my face engraved next to his on his HOF plaque.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst, how do you rate on the "it's my fault we're in this freaking mess and finished in last place" scale?"

I'll give myself a 2 instead of a 1 only because I was only able to play in 110 games this season. Despite not playing as much as some other catchers, I still was 7th among catchers in fWAR. When I did play, I was an above-average catcher offensively and, even though it is currently unquantifiable, the rapport I have with our pitching staff was probably worth an extra win or two over the season.