Carlos Ruiz's 11-year tenure with the Phillies ended when he was traded to the Dodgers in August. He served as a backup catcher with both teams, first playing behind Cameron Rupp, then Yasmani Grandal. Now traded to Seattle, he figures to do the same with Mike Zunino. Ruiz had a bounceback year offensively in 2016, registering a .365 on-base percentage that was his best mark since his All-Star year in 2012. He also posted a robust .271/.407/.386 slash line against left-handers for the season, so he should have a place somewhere in the Mariners' lineup when a southpaw is starting. There might be a bit of a logjam at catcher if the team also decides to give Jesus Sucre playing time. The 37-year-old's fantasy value is negligible given the limited playing time, but he should still be useful to the Mariners as an above-average backup and veteran in the clubhouse, as well as a potential aid to a rotation coming off a down year.
Ruiz went 2-for-2 with an RBI single in Thursday's 6-2 Cactus League win over the Brewers. The veteran catcher is now hitting .333 after Thursday's effort, which included a run-scoring single that drove home Ben Gamel in the fourth. Ruiz has built a rock-solid offensive resume over his 10-plus major league seasons, and, although he's slated to be Mike Zunino's backup, the plan is for him to receive a greater degree of playing time than a typical reserve catcher.
Ruiz, who came to the Mariners in a Nov. 7 trade with the Dodgers, is slated to potentially receive potentially more playing time than typically afforded to back-ups, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. The 38-year-old backstop brings a wealth of experience and a productive bat to the Mariners as starting catcher Mike Zunino's primary backup, having hit .264 with eight doubles, three homers and 15 RBI over 62 games last season with the Phillies and Dodgers. There appear to be no plans to coddle Ruiz in terms of managing his playing time either, with manager Scott Servais emphasizing that they're not looking for Zunino to "play or catch 125 or 130 games." As such, Ruiz could potentially see a similar degree of opportunity as last season, particularly given Servais' lofty view of what he can still bring to the table. "He's been on a World Series team, lot of good teams over in Philadelphia, gets traded for his first time last year over to the Dodgers and really does a nice job with them, helps them in their playoff run. Just the experience level he brings and he can still play, he can still hit, there's no doubt. Not a power guy by any means but handles the bat, controls the strike zone. It's a really nice fit with Mike Zunino."
Ruiz was traded to the Mariners in exchange for left-handed pitcher Vidal Nuno on Monday. Ruiz was a solid backup catcher down the stretch after being acquired by the Dodgers, but given the younger options behind the dish (Yasmani Grandal, Austin Barnes), the veteran backstop was deemed expendable. It's unclear how playing time will be distributed between the 37-year-old and incumbents Mike Zunino and Jesus Sucre, but either way, Ruiz has an opportunity to appear in the lineup more now that designated hitting is an option to keep his bat in the lineup.
Ruiz is in the lineup for Friday's game against the Cubs. Ruiz will make his Dodgers debut Friday evening when Los Angeles hosts the Cubs. Ruiz is hitting a respectable .261/.368/.352 for the year, but has gone just 2-for-12 over the last seven days.
Ruiz was traded to the Dodgers on Thursday. Ruiz had been mostly phased out of a regular role behind the plate in favor of Cameron Rupp, but the veteran has still been somewhat productive when given the chance, with a .261 average and .368 OBP. The Dodgers sent their backup catcher A.J. Ellis to Philadelphia as part of the deal, so Ruiz figures to slot into a similar role behind Yasmani Grandal down the stretch run of the season.