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Ruiz named Phils' Defensive Player of Year

PHILADELPHIA -- Nobody knows what the future holds for Carlos Ruiz, but Thursday he won the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award for the Phillies.

Ruiz is a free agent, and the Phillies said in September re-signing him was a top priority. But perhaps negotiations have not gone as smoothly or as quickly as the Phillies would like. Earlier this week, when asked about Ruiz, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said: "Well, we're fortunate now that [the free-agent market has] kind of opened up. There are several candidates that could be our catcher next year. We'll see what happens. I mean, we're in the open season."

Ruiz opened the 2013 season serving a 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant. He struggled upon his return, landing on the disabled list and hitting .253 with four doubles, nine RBIs and a .581 OPS in 165 appearances through July 28.

Ruiz hit .281 with 12 doubles, five home runs, 28 RBIs and a .789 OPS in 176 plate appearances the rest of the way. It still ended up being the worst year of his career since 2008, but his .805 OPS from 2009-13 is fourth out of 20 qualifying catchers in baseball. He also has tremendous respect from the pitching staff. He turns 35 in January.

The GIBBY trophy for Defensive Player of the Year will be awarded as part of the 2013 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, which are based on voting by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni and the Society for American Baseball Research, as well as fan balloting on

Through Sunday, Dec. 1, fans will be able to cast their ballots at for the year's top defensive star, with no individual league affiliation.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for

Philadelphia Phillies, Carlos Ruiz