The Red Sox are in need of a catcher in 2014, and might very well find that backstop on the free agent market. If it's Carlos Ruiz they want, though, they will need to move fast, as he already has a two-year, $20 million offer on the table, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Well, unless the club who offered Ruiz a contract is the Red Sox, anyway -- it's unclear just which team is responsible for the offer at this stage. The Rockies have submitted a two-year offer for Ruiz, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, but the dollars are unknown. It is a completely different one than what Rosenthal is reporting, though, according to Joel Sherman, who says the Rockies won't match that AAV, even if they do tack on an option to their initial offer. The Red Sox have reported interest in Ruiz, likely because he will not cost them a compensation pick, and, as he'll be 35 years old in 2014, he won't cost them the years or dollars of someone like Brian McCann, either.
While his 2013 started slow, Ruiz rebounded by hitting .288/.343/.444 over the season's final two months, and owns a 117 OPS+ over the last five seasons. He was above-average at the plate every season from 2009 until last year, but between his return to form and his history, it's likely safe to offer him a short-term deal, as he won't cost them a draft pick and won't hamper them for, likely, more than a year, if that.
Plus, Ruiz has a reputation as a fine defensive backstop to compensate for his bat should it falter, which is why he would be preferable to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, even if Ruiz's $10 million per year ends up beating out Salty's eventual deal. Having Ruiz as a temporary bridge behind the plate that leads to a future with prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart in the majors is as solid a plan as there is this off-season, especially since it contributes to the goal of collecting even more prospects by saving that first-round selection.