What Happened in 2016: Acquired by the Dodgers in a controversial August trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, Carlos Ruiz was brought in to give the Dodgers a veteran presence behind the plate and an upgrade off the bench against left-handed pitching.
Clubhouse dynamics be damned, the Dodgers made a bold move on August 25 when they sent long-tenured and respected catcher A.J. Ellis and minor leaguer Joey Curletta to the Phillies in exchange for Ruiz, a player to be named later (Tommy Bergjans) and cash.
Fans and players alike were stunned by the move, but the Dodgers’ historically bad showing against left-handed pitching gave the trade a logical justification. The marginal upgrade to the roster was a bit puzzling considering the timing and the fact that no one wants to ruffle Clayton Kershaw‘s feathers during a run at the pennant, nevertheless the trade was arguably a success given Ruiz’s postseason contributions.
Ruiz came over to LA having hit .261/.368/.352 with six doubles and three home runs in 48 games with the Phillies. Chooch only played in 14 games with the Dodgers during the regular season, primarily against southpaws. He hit .278/.350/.333 with two doubles in 36 at-bats in Dodger Blue.
His postseason experience was one of the reasons the Dodgers sought Ruiz out before they embarked in their quest for their first World Series berth in 28 years. The veteran catcher made two starts for them in October going 3-for-11 with a double and a home run in 11 games between the NLDS and NLCS, good for a .970 OPS.
One of the highlights of Ruiz’s limited time with the Dodgers was his pinch-hit, two-run home run against Gio Gonzalez in Game 3 of the NLDS, the first Dodgers’ pinch-hit postseason homer since Orlando Hudson‘s Game 5 home run in the 2009 NLCS and the first Dodgers’ pinch-hit multi-RBI postseason home run since Kirk Gibson‘s iconic 1988 dinger. He also contributed with a pinch-hit, go-ahead RBI single in NLDS Game 5.
2017 Status: Ruiz was traded to the Seattle Mariners this off-season, paving the way for Austin Barnes to be the backup catcher to Yasmani Grandal. Ruiz replaced Chris Iannetta as the backup catcher to Mike Zunino for Seattle. The Dodgers in return received left-handed relief pitcher Vidal Nuno in the trade.