The Phillies will bring a group of pitchers to Clearwater as non-roster invitees when spring training begins in 2½ months and one of them will be right-handed reliever Jose Ruiz, who has agreed to a minor-league contract, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
Ruiz is a 29-year-old Venezuelan who pitched in the majors in each of the last seven seasons. He's made 212 career appearances, 177 with the White Sox. He spent most of 2023 with the Diamondbacks, pitching to a 4.43 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 40⅔ innings.
Ruiz finished the season with Arizona's Triple A affiliate, Reno, and allowed just two runs over his final 15 innings with 20 strikeouts.
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The Phillies will return most of their eight-man bullpen in 2024: Jose Alvarado, Seranthony Dominguez, Jeff Hoffman, Gregory Soto, Matt Strahm, Orion Kerkering. They tendered a contract to Dylan Covey, who remained on their roster after May 20 as a sporadically used long reliever.
They are likely to add a late-inning reliever to replace free agent Craig Kimbrel but could wait to see how that market develops. Kimbrel, for example, did not sign last offseason until January 4.
Relievers who figure to compete for spots in spring training include Ruiz, Andrew Bellatti, Luis Ortiz, Yunior Marte, McKinley Moore, Connor Brogdon, Michael Mercado and anyone else the Phillies add on minor-league deals between now and mid-February. Ruiz is the only pitcher among that group who is out of minor-league options, meaning the Phillies would not be able to freely send him back and forth to the minors, instead having to pass him through waivers.