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Dodgers claim catcher Chad Wallach off waivers from the Marlins

Wallach gives the Dodgers a 3rd catcher with major league experience on the 40-man roster

Miami Marlins v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

After making a pair of deadline trades, the Dodgers on Friday also claimed catcher Chad Wallach off waivers from the Marlins, adding major-league-ready depth at the position after Keibert Ruiz was traded to the Nationals in the deal that brought Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Nationals.

Wallach hit .200/.242/.267 is 66 plate appearances as a backup in Miami this season, and in parts of five major league seasons with the Marlins and Reds has hit .207/.271/.303, a 60 wRC+ with three home runs in 78 games and 231 plate appearances.

In his career, Wallach rates as 3.3 runs above average in FanGraphs’ catcher framing, in 532⅔ innings. To put that in perspective, the Dodgers’ Will Smith rates as +3.2 runs in 607⅓ innings this year, ranking 14th among major league catchers, and Austin Barnes since the start of 2020 is at +4.7 runs in 555⅔ innings.

Dodgers/D-backs lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos D-backs
Pos Dodgers Pos D-backs
2B Taylor 2B VanMeter (L)
1B Muncy (L) 3B Cabrera (S)
3B Turner RF Calhoun (L)
SS Seager (L) 1B Walker
C Smith C Kelly
LF Pollock LF Peralta (L)
CF Bellinger (L) SS Ahmed
RF McKinney (L) CF Varsho (L)
P Gonsolin P Gallen

With the trade of Ruiz, the Dodgers were in need of a catcher. After Ruiz was dealt, the two catchers in Triple-A are Hamlet Marte, a 27-year-old just 9-for-47 (.191/.296/.298) with Oklahoma City, and 21-year-old Juan Zabala, who played in one game in Triple-A this season. Tim Federowicz, the 33-year-old veteran, is currently with Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Enter Wallach, who was designated for assignment by the Marlins last Saturday. The 29-year-old will have one option year remaining after this season.

“Chad’s a big leaguer. His father was a coach of mine when I was here with the Dodgers, so there’s a baseball intelligence, pedigree,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To have him in the organization who has caught major league games and taken major league at-bats, he’s added major league depth.”

Chad’s father is Tim Wallach, who played four of his 17 major league seasons with the Dodgers, and was a longtime coach in the organization both in the minor leagues and in the majors with the team. Wallach has three sons, and all three were drafted by the Dodgers.

Matt Wallach was a catcher picked in the 22nd round in 2007, and made his way to Triple-A. Brett Wallach was a pitcher selected in the third round in 2009, and was traded by the Dodgers as part of a 2010 deal to get Ted Lilly from the Cubs.

The Dodgers drafted Chad Wallach out of high school in the 43rd round in 2010, but he did not sign. He was picked in the fifth round in 2013 by the Marlins out of Cal State Fullerton, where his dad and bother Matt played.

D-backs roster moves

For the second time since the All-Star break, the Dodgers are playing a team in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Before Friday’s game, Arizona placed outfielder Stuart Fairchild, pitchers Joe Mantiply, Noé Ramirez, and Riley Smith, and utility man Pavin Smith on the injured list with no designation.

Catcher Carson Kelly was activated from the injured list and bats fifth for the Diamondbacks. Pitcher J.B. Bukauskas was recalled from Triple-A Reno.

Pitchers Miguel Aguilar, Ryan Buchter, and Stefan Crichton, and infielder Drew Ellis were all called up from the minors.

Infielder Jake Hager was claimed off waivers from the Mariners earlier Friday, and will be active for this game.