Thursday, August 25, 2016

Welcome to the Blue, Carlos Ruiz!

As much as I want to lament to loss of AJ Ellis, I do want to take this moment to welcome veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers family.  As you may have heard, the front office just traded one veteran catcher for another.  AJ Ellis has been sent to Philadelphia for Carlos Ruiz.  Per a Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash considerations from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Ruiz, 37, has played in more than 1,000 games for the Phillies after being signed by the club as an amateur free agent in 1998. The native of Venezuela made his Philadelphia debut in 2006 and has been a Phillies’ fixture behind the plate ever since, hitting .266 with 68 home runs, 401 RBI and 213 doubles in 1,069 career games. Ruiz made nine career Opening Day starts for the Phillies (2008-12, 2014-16) and was a part of five National League East Division championships (2007-11), two National League pennants (2008-09), and one World Series Championship (2008).  In 11 career World Series games, Ruiz has a .353 (12-34) average with a .488 OBP, 1.194 OPS, 4 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI and 6 R in 43 plate appearances.

This season, Ruiz is batting .261 with three homers and 12 RBI in 48 games, but has been hot of late, hitting .340 (16-for-47) since the All-Star break.

The 2012 All-Star owns the highest career fielding percentage among all qualifying catchers in Phillies’ franchise history (.994) and ranks fourth in in games caught (1,029), trailing only Mike Lieberthal (1,139), Red Dooin (1,124) and Bob Boone (1,095). He is one of only two catchers in Major League history, along with Jason Varitek, to have caught four separate no-hitters (two by Roy Halladay, one by Cole Hamels and one combined).

He struck out only 456 times in 3,884 career plate appearances, giving him the fifth-best strikeout rate (8.52 PA/SO) among all active major league players over that span behind Albert Pujols (11.13), Yadier Molina (10.49), Jose Reyes (9.98) and Martin Prado (9.22).
Ugh!  I really like AJ, and it sucks that he'll be gone.  And I hope that he'll find himself employed back within the Dodgers franchise later on in his career.  On the flip side, at least we got a sure handed catcher with some pop in his bat in exchange.  So, I suppose this is an upgrade, but to be frank it doesn't really feel like it.  And I fully acknowledge that this is just an emotional response to this trade.  Objectively, Ruiz should provide an element to the backup position that the team has not enjoyed this season.  Namely, offense.

BTW, you can follow Carlos on twitter here: @carlosruiz24.

Also, in regards to contract issues Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors has the lowdown:
There’s a financial element to the deal, too. Ruiz’s $8.5MM salary still has about $1.85MM left to go on the year, while there’s a little less than $1MM owed Ellis in his final season of arbitration eligibility (which was costing the team $4.5MM). The Dodgers will presumably also be obligated to pay Ruiz a $500K buyout on his $4.5MM club option for 2017 — unless the team elects to pick it up.
Ruiz also had this to say about todays trade, via Matt Gelb at
"I am sad and happy at the same time," Ruiz said by phone Thursday. "I really love Philadelphia and all the fans and my teammates. I know I'm going to miss them. I really appreciate everything we did together. But, on the other side, I am happy because of the chance to go to the playoffs."
In celebration of Ruiz's arrival to Los Angeles I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph taken by Tom Mihalek/AP and the 1979 Topps Baseball card design.

Check out his career stats via Baseball-Reference below:

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