Carlos Ruiz, nicknamed Chooch, became a fan favorite in Philly. Credit: Getty Images
Many Phillies fans had probably already written off a return for starting catcher Carlos Ruiz. But according to multiple reports, they better hold on to their No. 51 jerseys.
FOX Sports was the first to report Philadelphia had agreed to a three-year, $25.5 million deal with Ruiz. The deal also includes a fourth-year option for $4.5 million.
Ruiz has played his entire eight-year career with the Phillies.
The catcher reportedly flirted with signing in Colorado, where the team was looking for a defensive catcher to replace Wilin Rosario. But the Denver Post reported last week the team was only willing to offer two years and $15 million for Ruiz.
That opened the door to a reunion with the Phillies.
Ruiz, 34, had appeared on the verge of a breakout a couple seasons ago, but regressed in 2013 as he dealt with injuries and controversy. Ruiz was suspended for the first 50 games of the season after failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs. When he returned, he spent time on the DL with a hamstring injury.
He finished this past season with a .268 batting average, five homers and 37 RBIs in 92 games. In 2012, he batted a career-best .325 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs.
Ruiz had a good relationship with the pitching staff and is a standout defensively.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter@MetroNYSports.