This isn't to say it's a done deal. The Phillies very well could go in a different direction. But I doubt it. The biggest name on the free-agent list this winter is Brian McCann, who may been a bit too pricey for the Phillies. Plus, McCann is left-handed and has only caught 206 games in the past two seasons.
For comparisons sake, Ruiz caught 192 games in the past two seasons and Carlton Fisk caught 305 games in 1977 and 1978 when he was 30.
So what will it take to keep Ruiz? One or two years with a vesting option for a second and/or third year. That seems fair given Ruiz's age (35 on Opening Day of '14) and injury history. Plus, Ruiz can hit (right-handed) and could play out a two-year deal with little drop off in performance.
But if the Phillies choose to go in a different direction, there are a few catchers out there worth investigating. John Buck, Dioner Navarro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Geovany Soto and Kurt Suzuki will hit the free market this winter and might be available to split time with Ruiz.
Within the organization, 2014 will be a big year for Tommy Joseph and Sebastian Valle. Both catchers need to bounce back after injuries and a down season .