Here it is, August 24, and we hadn’t heard anything about any Phillies clearing revocable waivers this month.
If the Phils are still interested in trading anyone on their roster, they must be put on waivers, where the other 29 teams have an opportunity to claim that player, meaning they’d be on the hook for that player’s entire salary.
It had been quiet. Too quiet.
Sources say Ryan Howard & Carlos Ruiz both cleared waivers. Heard of 2 teams mulling Ruiz. Howard virtually certain to stay in Philly.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) August 24, 2016
Howard’s season long numbers (.198/.252/.445, wRC+ 78, 19 HRs) aren’t that impressive until you see what he’s done since the All Star break (.339/.379/.742, wRC+ 191, 7 HRs). As Corinne Landry noted on Fangraphs Wednesday, Howard has been one of the most productive first basemen in baseball in the second half.
Howard has been batting almost exclusively against right-handed pitching, which has clearly helped his numbers. He’s also among the league leaders in exit velocity, tied for 36th, at 92.5 mph.
But as Stark noted, it’s unlikely the team is unlikely to deal Howard, seemingly willing to allow him to finish his contract out as a legacy player with the Phils.
At this point, there’s no urgency to trade Howard anywhere. Ruiz, however, might be a different story.
Ruiz and Cameron Rupp have combined to put up 3.2 fWAR this season, tied for 4th-most among MLB catchers. Chooch has had a solid bounce-back offensive season, hitting .261/.368/.352 in 193 PAs, with a wRC+ of 100 and an fWAR of 1.3. He’s still walking in 12.4% of his plate appearances and striking out just 14.5% of the time.
Not only that, his defense has been excellent, and he’s renowned for knowing how to call a game. He’s not much for pitch-framing, however, but his other strengths could make him interesting for a team like the Cleveland Indians, who lost out on Jonathan Lucroy and have the lowest fWAR at the catcher position of any team in baseball.
Other contenders like the New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays could be looking to add either a starting or back-up catcher. Ruiz has said he’d like one more shot at the postseason before he retires.
Stark reports at least two teams have made inquiries, but it’s unclear how far those discussions have gone. Most likely the Phils would be looking for a low-A ball pitcher with some upside, either in the rotation or the bullpen.
If either player gets traded, don’t expect much of a return back.