The Phillies have spent the week putting their 2013 plans into place.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies picked up the $5 million 2013 option on Carlos Ruiz and declined options on utility man Ty Wigginton and reliever Jose Contreras. Contreras was owed $2.5 million and Wigginton was due $4 million. Each played received a $500,000 buyout. The Phillies also gave third basement Placido Polanco a $1 million buyout.
Outfielder Juan Pierre and catcher Brian Schneider became free agents.
Down on the farm… The Phillies on Thursday hired Dave Brundage as the manager for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Brundage managed the Atlanta Braves' Triple-A affiliate for the last six years. He has a career record of 1,086-1,028 (.514) in 13 seasons as a minor league manager.
Coming off a fantastic season where he hit .325 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs, Ruiz was a beacon of hope throughout the season to forget. He posted career highs in average, home runs, RBIs, hits (121) and doubles (32). Chooch was rewarded as the Phillies try and move past last season's disappointment of missing the playoffs, ending their five-year run as the NL East champions.
After an uncharacteristically slow start, the Phillies played their best baseball during a 7 1/2-week stretch from July 31 to Sept. 21, going 31-17 to climb back into the postseason race after falling to a season-worst 14 games under .500 right after the All-Star break.
They were still well out of the wild-card spot when they traded two-time All-Star outfielders Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino hours before the non-waiver deadline, and were already looking ahead to 2013.
Since winning the franchise's second World Series title in 2008, the Phillies have taken one step backward each season. They lost to the New York Yankees in six games in the 2009 World Series, lost to the San Francisco Giants in six games in the 2010 NLCS, lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in five games in the 2011 NL division series and then missed the playoffs in 2012.