The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Thursday they traded catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league right-hander Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later, or cash, to the Philadelphia Phillies for Carlos Ruiz.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported Wednesday that Ruiz and Ryan Howard cleared revocable waivers, and the Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb added the Phillies were exploring potential trade options for Ruiz. The 37-year-old catcher, who could veto any trade, was open to moving from Philadelphia.
"I'd like to go and win this thing," he said about playing for a contender before the trade, per Gelb. "It's going to be a tough decision you'll have to make. But baseball continues, life continues, and I have to continue to work."
Some Dodgers fans were surprised the team swapped Ellis for Ruiz. He has been with the team since getting called up to the majors in 2008, and the 35-year-old has a particularly strong relationship with ace Clayton Kershaw.
The Los Angeles Times' Andy McCullough provided Ellis' reaction:
Considering what Ellis means to Los Angeles' clubhouse, the New York Times' Tyler Kepner believes the deal doesn't make sense for the Dodgers:
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted the Dodgers are looking to fill a specific need with Ruiz's arrival:
The move is strictly for the short term since Ruiz has a $500,000 buyout for the 2017 season.
For the Phillies, the trade is mostly about acquiring Bergjans. Ellis is a free agent in the offseason, and Philadelphia will have little need for an aging catcher as the franchise continues its rebuild.
Bergjans is 3-13 in 24 appearances in High-A ball. In 130 innings pitched, he has struck out 133 batters and walked 29 while posting a 4.98 ERA. However, KYW Newsradio's Matt Leon is intrigued by the 23-year-old:
Chances are, Bergjans won't grow into an MLB-caliber starting pitcher. But he's only in his second year of professional baseball after the Dodgers selected him in the eighth round of the 2015 draft.
The Phillies might be able to groom Bergjans into a pitcher who can help them in either the rotation or the bullpen. He fits more into their long-term plans than Ruiz would have.