PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies have spent the week starting to put their 2013 plans into place.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies exercised the $5 million 2013 option on Carlos Ruiz and declined options on utilityman Ty Wigginton ($4 million) and reliever Jose Contreras ($2.5 million). Wigginton and Contreras each will receive $500,000 buyouts.
Philadelphia also declined a $5.5 million option on third baseman Placido Polanco, who gets a $1 million buyout.
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 strong season in which he hit .325 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs, Ruiz 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 13 games out of a 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.
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).
Outfielder Juan Pierre and catcher Brian Schneider also became free agents this week.