Details On Keibert Ruiz’s Contract Extension


Last week, the Nationals agreed to an eight-year extension with catcher Keibert Ruiz that guaranteed $50MM.  Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported the specifics of the deal this evening. The 24-year-old will receive a $3MM signing bonus, with salary breakdowns as follows:

  • $1MM in 2023
  • $6MM in 2024
  • $5MM annually between 2025-27
  • $7MM in 2028
  • $9MM annually between 2029-30

Reports last week indicated the deal contained club options covering the 2031 and ’32 seasons, though the value of those provisions hadn’t previously been known. Heyman now pegs the option values at $12MM and $14MM, respectively. There are no buyouts on the options. That structure takes the maximum value of Ruiz’s deal to ten years, $76MM if both club options are exercised.

Depending on the club options, Ruiz is now set to hit free agency for the first time follow his age-31, -32, or -33 season. The Nationals clearly believe that he can blossom into the high quality two-way catcher his status as a former top prospect would imply. In exchange for relinquishing as many as five would-be free agent years, Ruiz locks in a healthy payday after accruing just over one year of service time since his big league debut in 2020 with the Dodgers.

To this point, Ruiz has appeared in 143 games, slashing .255/.315/.374 in his 537 plate appearances in the majors. That slash line is good for a slightly below average 93 wRC+, though it’s worth noting that figure actually makes him a slightly above average hitter for the catcher position. Ruiz has been a slightly below average catcher defensively according to both DRS (-5) and Statcast’s framing metric, which puts him in the 23rd percentile of qualified catchers. Ruiz should get plenty of opportunity to develop his skills on the rebuilding Nationals, where he’s slated to be the primary catcher with fellow youngster Riley Adams servings as his backup.

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