In the span of four days, the Philadelphia Phillies signed three key players to three-year deals. Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino, and Carlos Ruiz—all integral parts of the team’s success in the past two seasons—have avoided arbitration and uncertainty by signing until 2012.
Pitcher Blanton was the first to sign, inking his $24 million deal on the evening of Jan. 21. The 29-year-old went 12-8 in 2009 as he pitched 195.1 innings. In his six seasons in the Majors, Blanton has been consistent, with a 4.21 ERA, .538 winning percentage, and 1.331 WHIP while pitching an average of 213 games per season.
Outfielder Victorino began as a Rule Five selection and evolved into an essential piece of the successful Phillies team. The speedy Hawaiian signed a contract worth $22 million and plans on buying a home closer to Philadelphia now that he knows his spot on the team is secure. In 2009, Victorino hit .292 with 25 stolen bases, 39 doubles, and a National League-leading 13 triples. The center fielder had a .997 fielding percentage and 8 assists, leading him to his second consecutive Gold Glove.
Catcher Ruiz agreed to a $8.85 million contract, which comes with a fourth-year club option. Ruiz, a career .246 hitter, bounced back from a .219 BA in 2008 to hit .255 in 2009. His regular season performance was steady in 2009, but it was always his clutch-hitting in October that made the 31-year-old stand out.
With the exception of outfielder Jayson Werth, the Phillies have locked down all of their key fielders until at least 2011.
Three seems to be the magic number this offseason. With the core intact for at least two more seasons, can the Phillies bring their total number of World Series Championships to three by the end of that span?
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