There’s a reason why so many ’08 Phillies have made their way to Los Angeles. Carlos Ruiz, like Chase Utley, is somebody who has proven himself as a playoff champion at Dodger Stadium. The same goes for current Dodger reliever Joe Blanton and former Dodgers Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino. Those Phillies teams of last decade beat the Dodgers for back-to-back pennants in 2008 and 2009.
There’s another reason why a number of ’08 Phillies are on this roster. They can still play ball. The Dodgers spent all of Thursday mourning the loss of AJ Ellis, both on and off the field. But in the end, the team got stronger by adding ‘Chooch’.
From a statistical perspective, the trade makes even more sense. Ruiz is better than Ellis this season in AVG, HR, BB, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Ruiz’s statistical dominance over Ellis is observed against both left handed and right handed pitching.
Thursday’s trade also addresses a hole in the depth chart. Austin Barnes injured his hand, and the Dodgers were one Yasmani Grandal injury away from having to rely on Ellis, who is currently slashing .194/.285/.252.
Social media erupted after the trade. Some said trading Ellis hurts team chemistry. The Dodgers definitely lost a respected player and Clayton Kershaw’s best friend. However, Kershaw’s performance has not suffered when pitching to Grandal. Kershaw’s ERA is 1.98 throwing to Grandal over his career. His career total ERA is 2.39.
@DavidYoungTBLA I'd take the 616 for a handful of days rather than tearing down part of the positive clubhouse dynamic. Tis how I feel.
— Angie (@43v3rblue) August 26, 2016
It's almost as it a catcher familiar with a pitching staff is important in a pennant race. Good night.
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) August 27, 2016
Furthermore, from a clubhouse perspective, the Dodgers gained what they lost in AJ Ellis’s character. Roy Halladay told Phillies Insider:
Chooch was the little engine that could for a team loaded with big names, but no player was more valuable to the team as a whole than Carlos! He was so humble and grateful, you couldn’t help but just want to do anything for him including win! He flawlessly handled one of the greatest pitching staffs ever assembled and was just as important offensively, as well. It was nothing short of miraculous that he could handle so many different personalities and approaches on a day-to-day basis the way that he did. He was the best catcher I’ve ever thrown to and, in my opinion, the best catcher in baseball in the years I was with him.
Andrew Friedman was also high on Ruiz’s character. He told SportsNetLA:
“I can go on and on about AJ and his attributes and what he brings to a team, and if Carlos didn’t possess similar things, we wouldn’t have made the move”.
Houston Mitchell at the LA Times puts it best:
“Trading a seldom-used backup catcher shouldn’t break a team, and if it does, then that team probably wasn’t going to win a World Series anyway.”
So Dodger fans, let’s put some faith into the Friedman brain trust, take a deep breath, and relax.