The Mariners continue to make moves in the off-season. Today, they traded left-handed relief pitcher Vidal Nuno for veteran catcher, Carlos Ruiz.
The Mariners have made a handful of moves this November, and we’re barely a quarter through the month. Most of the action has been at the catcher position. Last week the M’s designated Steve Baron for assignment, outrighted Steve Clevenger’s contract (sending him to AAA Tacoma), and watched Chris Iannetta elect for free agency.
All these changes left the M’s once thriving catchers pool look pretty thin. With only Mike Zunino and Jesus Sucre still on the roster, this move for Carlos Ruiz or any catcher looked imminent.
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Zunino continued to struggle at the plate in 2016 -he batted below .215 for the fourth straight season- despite his decent power numbers. And, Jesus Sucre has shown glimpses of very goodness but has never spent regular time in the majors to truly settle in.
What the Mariners get with Ruiz is a veteran who has post-season experience, and over a decades-worth of knowledge behind the plate. That is just my opinion, but this is what GM, Jerry Dipoto thinks of his move to add Ruiz:
His time in the league has given him great game calling ability, which is something many M’s pitchers haven’t had for a long time. Since Cy Young winner and “King”, Felix Hernandez joined the club in 2005, he’s seen twenty-eight different men behind home. Not many have panned out.
Only five of those catchers ever played more than one hundred games with the Mariners, and just three of them ever had more than thirty-five homers with the M’s. Also, only one of those men amassed more than fifty doubles or one hundred and forty RBI during their tenure with the team. The only man to do that was Kenji Johjima.
The addition of Carlos Ruiz, who has a total of over four hundred RBIs, two hundred doubles, and had a .266 batting average matched with his experience and wisdom behind the plate, the M’s might be welcoming the most complete catcher they’ve ever had since the years of Dan Wilson.