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Is Darin Ruf on His Way Out of Philadelphia?
- Updated: February 5, 2014
Could Darin Ruf have played his last inning with the Phillies?
The 27-year-old outfielder might be bumped from his projected roster spot after the team signed veteran outfielders Marlon Byrd and Bobby Abreu.
Ruf, who hit 17 home runs in 85 games with the Philadelphia Phillies in two seasons, is in an awkward position with the organization.
While he may be optioned down to AAA Lehigh Valley after Spring Training, this move makes little sense for the team. At his age, he is almost too old to be occupying a roster spot in AAA, yet his lack of defensive abilities, as well as his high strikeout ratio and lack of experience hurts his chances of earning a roster spot for the Phillies as well.
Although statistically Ruf competes with both Byrd and Abreu, he will be just another backup in the outfield, a roster spot that the Phillies cannot afford to waste at this time. He possesses nearly the same value as the two veterans and his upside looks limited, hurting his chances of remaining in the organization.
With Ruf’s one-year-deal, the Phillies could release Ruf when finalizing the active 40-man roster at the end of Spring Training. Unless he has a monster spring, these could be the final days that Ruf sees in Philadelphia.
In fact, Ruf may have played his last game in the outfield in the MLB. Fangraphs ranked him as one of the worst right fielders in baseball in 2013. Although his offense looks promising, his potential is diminished by his defensive woes. Because of this, Ruf could find himself switching positions in the free agency market. His offensive numbers make him a suitable option as a designated hitter in the American Leauge.
The best outcome for Ruf at this time is moving to a team such as the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, or Chicago White Sox, all of which struggled with the designated hitter position in 2013. Because Ruf can provide power at the plate, and his on base percentage is higher than the league average for DH’s, this could be the most logical place for him to end up.
While once touted as one of the best hitting prospects in the organization, Ruf’s days as a Phillie appear to be numbered.