Rather than accept or decline the club option for 2017 on Carlos Ruiz, the Dodgers instead are nearing a trade that would send the catcher to the Mariners, per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball. Ruiz had a limited no-trade clause that he waived to facilitate the deal, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Sherman also reported that the Dodgers would receive one pitcher on the Mariners’ 40-man roster on the deal. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register described the transaction as being in its "final stages."
Neither team has yet announced the trade.
Ruiz’s option called for a $4.5 million salary in 2017 for Ruiz, or a $500,000 buyout. Seattle will exercise the option simultaneously with the trade.
This offseason has seen a new trend emerge, with Ruiz about to be the third player traded within days of a decision on his option, sort of the MLB equivalent to a sign-and-trade move in the NBA. The Angels acquired outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Tigers on Thursday, and the Phillies acquired relief pitcher Pat Neshek from the Astros on Saturday in similar fashion.
The Dodgers acquired the veteran Ruiz from the Phillies on Aug. 25 in exchange for fellow veteran catcher A.J. Ellis, the longest-tenured player in the organization at the time. Minor league outfielder Joey Curletta was later sent to Philadelphia as the player to be named later to complete the deal.
Ruiz, 37, hit .278/.350/.333 in 14 games down the stretch for the Dodgers, and started nine games at catcher. He made a name for himself in the postseason, going 3-for-11 (.273) with a double and a walk, and hit one of eight pinch-hit home runs in Dodgers franchise history in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Nationals, then drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in Game 5 in Washington D.C.
On the season, Ruiz hit .264/.365/.348 with three home runs and eight doubles in 62 games between the Dodgers and Phillies.
One of the stated goals of the acquisition of Ruiz was his ability to hit left-handed pitching, and with the Dodgers including the playofs Ruiz was 10-for-34 (.294/.351/.412) with a home run, a double, three walks, and a hit by pitch against southpaws.
The move clears room for Austin Barnes, who has one option year remaining, to be the backup catcher to Yasmani Grandal in 2017. With the caveat that there is still an entire offseason to make moves, Grandal and Barnes will be the only two catchers on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster once this trade is completed.
The move as reported would be a wash for the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, which currently has 38 players.