The Washington Nationals have reached an agreement with catcher Keibert Ruiz on a long-term extension, the team announced Saturday. Ruiz will earn $50 million over the next eight seasons, with the Nationals presiding over two subsequent club options on his services.
Ruiz, 24, was originally acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the July 2021 trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner out west. He's since appeared in 135 big-league games with the Nationals, amassing a .257/.319/.366 slash line (97 OPS+) along with nine home runs. His contributions have been worth an estimated 2.1 Wins Above Replacement.
Ruiz's defensive metrics were a mixed bag. He ranked in the 25th percentile in pop time to second base on stolen-base attempts, and in the 23rd percentile in framing, according to Statcast. Ruiz did provide value as a goalie, however, making five blocks more than the average backstop, again per Statcast.
Had Ruiz not signed an extension, he would have been eligible for arbitration after the 2024 season. On that timeline, he would not have qualified for free agency until following the 2027 campaign. The Nationals have taken both options off the table here, ensuring that he'll remain with them through at least three would-be free-agent seasons.
Ruiz is the first player to sign a multi-year extension with the Nationals since right-hander Stephen Strasburg inked a seven-year deal worth $175 million in 2016, according to MLB Trade Rumors' extension database. Strasburg's contract allowed him to opt out after the 2019 season, a decision that paid dividends, as he later took advantage of that clause and ended up signing a seven-year pact worth $245 million to stay in D.C.