Joe: Would it make any sense for the Dodgers to trade Ruiz in a deal for Realmuto?
Keith Law: Definitely not. And I don’t think they will.
Anuj: Is Ruiz and J. Gray for Realmuto too much, fair, or too little?
Keith Law: Too much, and the Dodgers are not trading for a terrible framing catcher.
Those are pretty strong words from Law. He usually has a pretty good sense of how teams value their prospects.
Keibert Ruiz is clearly a highly regarded prospect and the Dodgers have had a strong track record with their previous top prospects. Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs had incredibly high praise for Ruiz in his most recent chat.
Eric A Longenhagen: I have a 7 on his bat and he has the most accurate arm I’ve ever seen.
“7 on his bat” is shorthand for a 70 grade on the 20-80 scale. To put that into perspective, Corey Seager was given a 60 grade from Fangraphs and MLB Pipeline in 2015. Trading such a talented player would be a mistake, according to Law.
Along with Will Smith, the Dodgers potentially have two elite catchers in the near future.
I think their goal is to recreate the Grandal/Barnes 2017 pairing. It’s a pretty rare competitive advantage to have two top ten catchers, especially when one of them can also move around the infield.
— Future Dodgers (@FutureDodgers) January 31, 2019
To add to it, Law mentioned Realmuto’s inability to frame as a reason why the Dodgers won’t trade for him. The team has targeted and employed multiple star pitch framers in the Friedman era. They currently have the 13th (Austin Barnes), 15th (Russell Martin), and 33rd (Rocky Gale) best pitch framers in baseball.
Realmuto’s framing came in at 54th of 117 catchers. It’s hard to say he’s a “terrible framing catcher” but he isn’t helping the team with it.
One could argue that Realmuto’s offensive abilities outweigh his poor framing. Last season, he hit .277/.340/.484 with 21 homers and a 126 wRC+. He would be a clear offensive upgrade for the team but you could also argue strong defense behind the plate is more valuable for a team that relies so heavily on their strong pitching staff.
That isn’t to say Realmuto is a bad defender, but there are a lot of teams now that value pitch framing over everything from their catchers. Stealing strikes for your pitchers can significantly change the outcome of an at-bat and a game.
It seems the Dodgers don’t think Realmuto provides enough extra value over their current stopgap catchers to give up Ruiz in a trade.
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