Chooch on the Hot Stove?

5798923268_b95bf83783_bNow that the Phillies front office has finally embraced the word “rebuilding, “ Phillies fans are approaching the holiday season hoping for some return on the beloved veterans who brought them a championship. There have been many rumors circulating around Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard, but with no player left untouchable, it will be interesting to see which teams come calling for Carlos Ruiz’ services.

Ruiz is one of the better defensive catchers in the game, even as he approaches his 36th birthday. He has been consistently praised by his pitching staff, from Roy Halladay to Jerome Williams. So who is looking for a veteran catcher?  The answer is most teams, with San Francisco and St. Louis being exceptions. As soon as Russell Martin signs, the catcher market opens up and Chooch becomes a hot commodity. The Pirates got their backup plan in Francisco Cervelli if they lose Martin, which brings the Yankees into the picture. While Cervelli was a serviceable backstop, Ruiz would be an upgrade. The Yankees could certainly benefit from Chooch’s leadership in the clubhouse and occasional pop toward the bottom of the order.  But the Red Sox are also in need of consistency behind the plate after trading AJ Piercynzki before the all-star break. Perhaps Ruben Amaro could make up for basically giving away Shane Victorino to the Red Sox last year?

But enough about the AL East. Because Chooch still plays at a high level at such a premium position, he could go to a team like the Astros who could benefit from a mentor in the clubhouse, or a team like the Cubs who are in need of players with playoff mentalities. No matter what this off-season brings, fans deserve to see their former championship heroes provide some hope for the future.

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