What does Ruiz deal mean for Salty?

The Red Sox’s pursuit of Carlos Ruiz has ended with the free-agent catcher coming to terms on a three-year, $26 million contract with his former team, the Philadelphia Phillies, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.

The Phillies upgraded the original offer they made Ruiz by guaranteeing a third year and adding a club option for a fourth, Stark reports. The package makes Ruiz the fourth highest-paid catcher in baseball.

How does Ruiz’s signing impact Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s future, especially considering the team seems to have had Ruiz higher on its wish list than Saltalamacchia? On the one hand, it increases his opportunity to return to the Red Sox, if that is his desire. On the other, it would seem to make it even less likely that he would be willing to accept a two-year deal, which is all the Sox have offered to this point.

Saltalamacchia turns 29 in May, which makes him nearly 6½ years younger than Ruiz, who turns 35 in January. He does not have Ruiz’s defensive reputation, but he was improved in 2013 and with an .804 OPS compares favorably to the catcher at the top of the free-agent market, Brian McCann (.796). Given the paucity of catching options on the market (A.J. Pierzynski, Dioner Navarro) Saltalamacchia might be able to leverage a third year from the Sox or another suitor.

To date, according to a baseball source, there has been no movement on the Saltalamacchia front.