Carlos Ruiz has landed in the American League before Ryan Howard.
After a nice little run with the Dodgers, Chooch will move on to the AL for the first time. The Mariners are set to acquire Ruiz from the Dodgers in exchange for left-handed pitcher Vidal Nuno. FanRag's Jon Heyman first reported the trade; the L.A. Times' Andy McCullough was the first to report Nuno's involvement.
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After being traded by the Phillies to the Dodgers on Aug. 25 for backup catcher A.J Ellis and a pair of minor-leaguers — pitcher Tommy Bergjans and outfielder Joey Curletta — Ruiz played a role for L.A. down the stretch. He had a .350 on-base percentage in 40 regular-season plate appearances, then went 2 for 4 with a pinch-hit homer and three RBIs in the Dodgers' Divisional Series win over the Nationals.
Ruiz, who turns 38 in January, has a $4.5 million club option for 2017. The Mariners clearly see him as a stop-gap catcher who can help their young pitchers, develop a rapport with Felix Hernandez and provide more offense than Chris Iannetta or Mike Zunino, who both hit .210 or lower last season.
The interest in Ruiz in recent months just goes to show his value in the game, even at 38. He provides top-notch game-calling, discipline at the plate and the ability to hit between .260 and .270. At a position as starved for offense as catcher, that'll keep you in the majors.
Ruiz also controlled the running game in 2016 better than ever before, throwing out a National League-best 42 percent of base stealers. (His career rate had previously been 27 percent.)
Chooch just can't be relied on to be a team's primary catcher at this point — since 2013, he's averaged 88 games per season. But considering all it cost the M's was a journeyman lefty swingman in Nuno, shrewd deal by Seattle.