The rumors about a Carlos Ruiz trade began in earnest about 2 days ago when the Phillies signed veteran Turkey Bacon Pitchman (and Catcher), Erik Kratz to a Minor League deal. It seemed a little odd for the Phillies to want another Catcher, with the upper levels of the farm system stocked with Gabriel Lino, Andrew Knapp, Logan Moore and Rene Garcia. The first two of those names are legitimate prospects, Logan Moore is a quality Defensive Catcher and game caller and Rene Garcia is a guy in Double-A, a place Kratz clearly isn't heading.
The, of course, there's Kratz's side. Why would a 35 year old, sign a Minor League deal with the worst team in baseball? Well, for one, he's Erik Kratz, not Yadier Molina. As such he was likely signing a Minor League deal anywhere he went. So, why not sign with a team that is trying to sell off parts of an aging core (including a 36 year old Catcher)? Of course, you can also look at the fact that Kratz is a local product having grown up about half an hour away in the Lansdale area of Montgomery County.
Then there are the actual rumors. During the Lehigh Valley IronPigs broadcast after the signing the announcers noted a rumor that Kratz would be heading down the Northeast Extension in the next 11 days when a trade happened (or perhaps 611 if he wants a more scenic route and has 3 or 4 hours to kill). Nothing specific was mentioned, but that would clearly need to mean either Ruiz or Rupp leaving the Phillies. Then today Morning Call reporter and IronPigs beat writer Tom Housenick tweeted that the Fightin' Phils placed Catcher Logan Moore on the Temporarily Inactive list until a trade is completed to open a roster spot for him with the IronPigs. Again, no specifics, but it fits the idea that Ruiz gets traded Kratz moves up and Moore goes back to Lehigh Valley.
So, who needs a Catcher and is contending?
Right in our own Division the Mets have been getting by with injury magnet Travis d'Arnaud and the various spare parts who fill in during his DL stints (Plawecki has done well, the other battery mates have not). It's possible the Mets may want an older, experienced backup in case d'Arnaud goes down again, but it seems unlikely that their focus will be there. The Mets Offense is pretty bad, their Outfield is a mess, they've got Defensive holes everywhere undermining a very solid Rotation. I would guess Catcher is, at best, their 3rd or 4th priority.
The Mariners are rumored to be in the market for a Catcher, so they can send Mike Zunino back down to Triple-A. I like this rumor for a few reasons. First is that the Phillies have a trade already in progress with the Mariners, as they sent Tyler Knigge, a Reliever to them, so it's possible we just haven't heard another part of the deal including Ruiz. The second thing I like about this rumor is that teams tend to trade with a stable of partners and the Phillies have traded a few times with the M's. As to who the Phillies could get? I love some of the Mariners' pieces. We'll assume Alex Jackson and DJ Peterson are off the table. I will also assume that for Chooch, we aren't getting Walker, Ketel Marte. The Phillies could take gambles on former top pick Dustin Ackley or Outfield prospect Austin Wilson. Wilson's a former Second Rounder still trying to get beyond his Stanford swing issues. despite good size and athleticism he doesn't show much Power yet, though he has mastered Striking Out like a Power Hitter. The Phillies could also look at a few arms in the system, as Seattle has a rather good track record of late of developing Pitchers. There are a few Pitchers in the system who could work here, but it's unlikely you get anything top shelf back for Ruiz at this point unless you eat most all of his remaining 2 years and buyout.