Rather than enter the off-season carrying three catchers on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers were close Sunday evening to finishing a trade sending veteran backup Carlos Ruiz to Seattle in exchange for pitcher Vidal Nuno, according to people familiar with the situation who requested anonymity because the deal had not been finalized.
Nuno, a 29-year-old left-hander, has started in the past, but spent most of the last two seasons as a reliever. He posted a 3.53 earned-run average in 55 outings for the Mariners in 2016.
The Dodgers acquired Ruiz in August in a controversial trade that shipped veteran catcher A.J. Ellis to Philadelphia. Ellis was a close confidant of ace Clayton Kershaw, and considered a critical part of the clubhouse fabric. But Ruiz filled in capably, hitting an important home run in Game 4 of the National League division series against the Washington Nationals and delivering the go-ahead hit in Game 5.
But Ruiz, who turns 38 in January, was unlikely to remain a Dodger beyond 2016. His contract included a $4.5-million option for 2017, with a $500,000 buyout.