Here are a few reactions to the Phillies and Dodgers’ recent catcher swap, in which Carlos Ruiz headed to Los Angeles while A.J. Ellis, pitcher Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named or cash went to Philadelphia.
- The Phillies have two good catching prospects in Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp, but GM Matt Klentak says it was still important that they receive the veteran Ellis in the deal, as Philly.com’s Matt Gelb writes. (Alfaro was recently promoted to the Majors, but is expected to return to the minors once Ellis arrives.) “It was important as this team parts ways with Carlos, who has been such an important leader for so long, that we add a player with a tremendous reputation as a leader and worker,” says Klentak. “We were adamant A.J. be in it.” Ellis is expected to back up Cameron Rupp in Philadelphia.
- Ruiz could have used his no-trade clause to block the deal, and he didn’t want to leave the Phillies, the team that signed him all the way back in 1998. But he says the possibility of competing for a championship was too tempting to pass up, asMLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. “My heart and everything was in Philly,” says Ruiz. “It was tough to make that decision. It’s sad to leave, but another part of me is happy, because I’ve got an opportunity to go to the postseason and the playoffs and have a chance to go back to the World Series.”
- From the Dodgers’ perspective, Ellis’ inclusion in the deal is confusing, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. With September callups approaching, one would think the Dodgers could have kept Ellis and still traded for Ruiz, assembling some other package that would have worked for the Phillies (Klentak’s protestation above notwithstanding). Instead, they traded Ellis, who doesn’t hit well but has a terrific clubhouse reputation, in a deal that appears to be a marginal upgrade — Ruiz, after all, will be a backup who will only get so many plate appearances down the stretch. If the Dodgers don’t succeed this year, it will be easy to blame their failures on Ellis’ departure, whether or not that’s fair.