In a heartbreaker, the Dodgers trade A.J. Ellis to Philly for Carlos Ruiz

In a day that will live in infamy, the Dodgers today traded A.J. Ellis, right-handed pitcher Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later or cash to the Phillies for Carlos Ruiz and cash.

Wait, did that really just happen? Did the Dodgers just trade A.J. Ellis for Carlos F. (and not in the good way) Ruiz?! What planet/year is this?

Seriously, though, the trade makes a ton of sense if you look at it logically. The Dodgers are getting a backup catcher who has a 99 wRC+ and 1.3 WAR in 48 games. Ellis has a 48 (sad face) wRC+ and -0.3 WAR in 53 games. Ellis is clearly in the twilight of his career (despite a resurgent second half last year), while Ruiz is still producing at age 37. But…


Ellis is Clayton Kershaw‘s best pal. He has been the quiet leader on the team since taking over catching duties in 2012. While he struggles behind the plate in terms pitch framing, he has been praised by nearly everyone for his game-calling and working with pitchers. That wasn’t enough to keep the Dodgers from pulling the trigger on this deal.

And now it’s time for it to get really, really dusty in here.



This also figures to be a hot take:

I understand it on some level, but this will be overblown — just like when the Dodgers traded Paul Lo Duca in 2004. There’s a little validity to it, but Ellis was such a minor part of the team this season on the field that it isn’t going to matter much. The clubhouse might have a different atmosphere at first, but Ruiz isn’t a troublemaker or bad teammate (quite the opposite).


Odds are, this was going to be Ellis’ last season with the club, but I surely didn’t expect this move, and neither did you. It also raises the question: What’s wrong with Austin Barnes?

guess that explains it.

As for Ruiz, he’s owed about $1.75 million the rest of the season and has a $4.5 million option for 2017 (with a $500,000 buyout). I’m guessing that’ll be picked up because Barnes is surely going to be traded in the offseason.

It’s bittersweet to upgrade from Ellis to Ruiz at backup catcher, seeing as Ruiz has feasted on Dodger pitching in his career: .290/.421/.439 with a couple home runs, 21 doubles and a sparkling 31:20 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He also was 10-for-29 with a home run, two doubles and six walks (against zero strikeouts) in the 2008 and 2009 National League Championship Series.

Losing Bergjans isn’t a big deal, as he isn’t much of a prospect. He checked in at No. 81 on my Top 100 and may have climbed a little come next season, but he’s a swingman prospect at best.

This is tough. On one hand, it makes perfect sense on paper. On the other hand, it’s A.J. No more “Yay-J.” No more “#AJ2KC.” No more “Sexy A.J. Ellis In The Pool” pose. No more “Between Two Palm Trees.” No mas. Nada. Sadness.

My brain likes this trade (borderline loves it). My heart hates it.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.