On Sunday night, another log was added to the stove as it continues to heat up. Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com was the first to report that Carlos Ruiz is getting traded to the Seattle Mariners.
Ruiz was involved in a midseason trade between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers this past season. He will turn 38 years old in January, and his team option of $4.5 million will be picked up by the M’s.
In 2016, Ruiz slashed a combined .264/.365/.348 in 62 games between the Phillies and Dodgers. He will be the primary backup to Mike Zunino in Seattle. Ruiz will be replacing Chris Iannetta, whose $4.5 million team option was declined last week. Iannetta started 86 games a year ago behind the plate and slashed .210/.303/.329. The M’s were looking for a veteran upgrade over Iannetta, and Ruiz seems to fill that hole perfectly.
The Mariners are banking on Zunino to continue to improve at the plate. After starting 2016 in Triple-A Tacoma, he finished the season as the team’s everyday catcher, slashing .207/.318/.470 in 55 games, which is quite an improvement over .174/.230/.300 in 2015. He showed better plate discipline in 2016, but his swing can still get long at times and he has trouble with the breaking ball. If Zunino can hit at all in the big leagues, his defense will keep him around for a long time.
While the deal is not finalized, Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times is reporting that Vidal Nuno is the player headed to the Dodgers in the trade.
Nuno appeared in 55 games out of the Seattle bullpen in 2016 and had a 3.53 ERA with a 51/11 K to BB ratio.
The Mariners will possibly be addressing several other areas of need this offseason, including outfield, shortstop, bullpen, and starting rotation. Jerry Dipoto should have another busy offseason in his second year as general manager.