In late August the Los Angeles Dodgers took a gamble on ruffling the clubhouse dynamic by trading A.J. Ellis to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Carlos Ruiz. Minor League outfielder Joey Curletta was later sent to Philadelphia as the final piece of the trade.
The Dodgers needed an answer to their struggles against left-handed pitching, and believed Ruiz, who brought with him plenty of postseason experience, would aid their efforts. Los Angeles was also confident the veteran backup catcher possessed some of the same traits that made Ellis so revered.
To that point in the season the 37-year-old was batting .261/.368/.352 with six doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI while appearing in 48 games with the Phillies.
Predictably, the bulk of Ruiz’s playing time with the Dodgers came against southpaws. Though, he only appeared in 14 games (nine starts) and hit .278/.350/.333 with two doubles and three RBI.
He went 3-for-11 with one double, one home run and four RBI in 11 games this postseason, making a pair of starts.
The initial presumption had the Dodgers exercising the $4.5 million club option on Ruiz for next season, however he was traded to the Seattle Mariners for left-handed reliever Vidal Nuno.
While making seven starts for the Phillies in July, Ruiz strung together an eight-game hitting streak that included three consecutive two-hit games. Then in August, prior to being traded, he put together a six-game hitting streak.
Ruiz swung the bat well in limited action down the stretch of the regular season. He rode some of that momentum into the postseason, connecting on a pinch-hit, two-run homer in Game 3 of the National League Division Series, and a pinch-hit, go-ahead RBI single in Game 5.
Ruiz, for now at least, replaces Chris Iannetta as the backup to Mariners catcher primary backup to Mike Zunino. Seattle declined their $4.25 million option on Iannetta last week.