Keibert Ruiz extension: Nationals sign young backstop to eight-year, $50 million deal

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The Washington Nationals have agreed a long-term extension with catcher Keibert Ruiz, the team announced on Saturday. Ruiz is set to earn $50 million over the next eight seasons, with the Nationals managing two consecutive club options for his services.

Ruiz, 24, was originally acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the July 2021 trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner west. Since then, he has appeared in 135 big league games with the Nationals and has amassed a .257/.319/.366 slash line (97 OPS+) along with nine home runs. His contributions were worth an estimated 2.1 wins above replacement.

Ruiz’ defensive stats were mixed. He ranked 25th percentile in Pop Time to Second Base on Stolen base attempts and 23rd percentile in framing, according to Statcast. However, Ruiz delivered value as a goalie and made five blocks more than the average backstop, again per statcast.

Had Ruiz not signed an extension, he would have been eligible for arbitration after the 2024 season. On that timeline, he would not have qualified for free agency until after the 2027 campaign. The Nationals have taken both options off the table here, ensuring he’ll stay with them for at least three seasons as a wannabe free agent.

According to MLB Trade Rumors’ renewal database, Ruiz is the first player to sign a multi-year renewal with the Nationals since right-hander Stephen Strasburg signed a seven-year, $175 million contract in 2016. Strasburg’s contract allowed him to drop out after the 2019 season, a decision that paid off as he later exploited that clause and eventually signed a seven-year, $245 million deal to remain in DC

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