Nationals @KeibertRuiz Agrees to Eight-Year $50 Million Deal

Nationals @KeibertRuiz Agrees to Eight-Year $50 Million Deal


Keibert Ruiz's eight-year, $50 million deal with two club options will surely delight Nationals fans. At 24 years old, this is an enormous contract for Ruiz who remains under contract.

In addition to Ruiz, the Nationals boast a talented group of middle infielders including Luis Garcia and CJ Abrams (both 22). This extension is an important step towards solidifying this young core for future success and getting them ready for more intense competition in the near future.


Keibert Ruiz, 24, the 24-year-old catcher acquired in a groundbreaking trade that sent both Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers, has agreed to an eight-year $50 million deal with the Nationals. This marks their first extension since right-hander Stephen Strasburg inked a seven-year deal worth $175 million back in 2016.

General manager Mike Rizzo stressed the importance of building a lineup with an emphasis on center field. Ruiz fits this mold perfectly, joining young pitchers Cade Cavalli, Josiah Gray and MacKenzie Gore - all 25 or younger - in what looks to be an exciting group with plenty of talent for years ahead.

As an elite hitter with superior contact skills, Ruiz should be able to help the Nationals compete on both ends of the diamond. Last season he hit.251/.313/.360 with seven home runs and six steals through 112 games; ranking among the top 10% of catchers for batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage among those who caught fewer than 100 plate appearances according to Statcast.

He was an effective defensive backstop, throwing out 20 runners on base in the field and ranking among the top 30 percent of catchers for pop time to second base on stolen-base attempts. However, according to Statcast he only ranked 23rd in framing and didn't provide much power beyond long balls.

This contract reportedly contains two club options that could increase its value to $50 million. This is a highly team-friendly arrangement, effectively buying out two pre-arbitration seasons and three arbitration years plus the initial three years of free agency.

The Nationals made a wise decision by signing their young franchise catcher for several years into the future. Doing so provides them with stability at that position, giving their players more assurance in their abilities and giving the team peace of mind for years to come.

In today's world of young stars, signing someone to a major contract before they hit free agency is an important milestone in building a franchise. The Nationals have demonstrated their dedication to making this organization successful in the future by signing this player to such an impressive contract.

Hit Tool

Scouts often assess players based on their hit tool. Hitters come in all shapes and sizes, from the all-arounder to pure power hitters who swing with purpose and hit balls for high batting averages.

Hitters with impressive contact skills and low strikeout rates, as well as freakish hitters who rely on their exit velocities to generate high batting averages, can all be successful. But in order for any Major League hitter to remain valuable for an extended period of time, their hit tool must produce sufficient production at that level.

Generally, the more powerful a player can hit, the better off his team will fare. But to truly become an excellent major league hitter, he must be able to translate his raw power into production on the field and against major-league pitching.

To achieve this, he needs great raw power, an accurate batting eye and excellent bat control. Furthermore, he must be able to match up with various pitches while avoiding any bad ones.

Ruiz is a switch-hitter who can catch, but he hasn't quite reached his full power potential yet. That will be key in determining how far Ruiz's hit tool progresses over the next eight years; if successful, two club options could extend his contract into the 2020s.

Ruiz is an excellent addition to Washington's young core, which also includes shortstop C.J. Abrams, left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore and outfielder Robert Hassell III.

As we saw with Juan Soto, Washington has a knack for taking advantage of young hitters. That's why Washington's two most productive teenage hitting seasons have come from Bryce Harper (2012) and Juan Soto (2018).

Ruiz is an experienced hitter who's made the most of his big-league opportunity so far, though he may not be as explosive as some anticipated. As such, he provides Washington with a reliable middle infield option as they look to rebuild in the coming years.


The defense is an integral element for any baseball team. It helps keep hitters out of trouble and keeps the ball moving towards home plate. Fortunately, the Nationals boast some talented young players to bolster their defense even further.

Keibert Ruiz was the top prospect in the Nationals farm system when they acquired him from the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer. He has become an integral part of their rebuilding effort and could potentially serve as a cornerstone player within two or three years.

He's an impressive defensive catcher, which is why the Nationals wanted him in this deal. With his potential to be an All-Star and ability to lead a team on defense while hitting home runs, there's no question why Washington wanted him.

In his first season with the Nationals, Ruiz showed marked progress. His 22 strikeouts ranked second-most in MLB and he became more proactive and animated at bat.

That said, he is still developing as a hitter. While his power numbers are not particularly impressive yet, his swing speed and ability to read pitches should continue to improve with time.

Ruiz will take his career as a catcher to the next level this year, learning how to utilize PitchCom, Major League Baseball's pitch calling technology that was implemented this season. With one full season under his belt, this year will mark an exciting new chapter for him as he takes on this year's challenge of mastering PitchCom.

This will enable him to call games faster and be more involved in the process. Furthermore, having conversations with pitchers he works with will allow him to become an even more effective catcher.

Ruiz is an outstanding prospect for the Nationals and this deal ensures he and his family can remain with the team longterm. It's an excellent move by both parties involved.

He is an impressive young hitter and will be an important cog in this team's future. As a top-100 prospect and the best catching prospect in baseball right now, it will be exciting to watch his growth over the course of several seasons!


At the 2021 trade deadline, Washington Nationals acquired Ruiz from the Dodgers with hopes of keeping him for years to come. He became one of the cornerstones of their roster rebuild and is now expected to be an All-Star catcher, according to General Manager Mike Rizzo.

Ruiz was a powerful contact hitter who experienced an ups and downs first season with the Nationals last year. In 112 games, he hit.251 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs while striking out 22 baserunners - second most among all catchers.

He was a valuable contributor in the early stages of his career, but the Nationals hoped he could develop into an All-Star and help them reach their goal of winning a World Series title. They believe he has what it takes, and believe his defense will keep him at an integral position on their roster for years to come.

Now, Ruiz has inked a deal that could keep him with the Nationals for up to 10 years - an eight-year extension that buys out two pre-arbitration years, all three arbitration seasons, as well as three free agency seasons before his club options kick in. According to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post (Twitter link), this contract carries an average annual value of $6.25MM which will count evenly against their luxury tax ledger during its duration.

Ruiz's contract may not match up to J.T. Realmuto or fellow top-tier catcher prospect Sean Murphy's, but it still represents a major accomplishment for him as he caught the third most pitches in baseball last year, behind only Realmuto and Murphy.

Hopefully Ruiz can use his catching skills to become more selective, and unleash the power that many anticipate. If he does, this deal proves well worth the investment by the Nationals.

It's the first such deal in Washington history and shows a serious commitment to developing young talent who may not yet be well known. The Nationals have shown they are willing to be more aggressive when signing their young players, and this is an encouraging sign.

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