Washington Nationals: Three Players The Front Office Needs To Extend
By Max Rayman
Despite only having 96 MLB at-bats, Washington needs to take a page out of the Atlanta Braves book and lock up the former top prospect now. At the start of the 2019 season, Atlanta worked out contract extensions for Ronald Acuna Jr. (eight years, $100 million) and Ozzie Albies (seven years, $35 million) forgoing arbitration. With their stars under contract on team-friendly deals long-term, the front office was able to spend money accordingly to fill out their roster needs.
Ruiz was the main prize for the Nationals in the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner blockbuster and is the catcher of the future. He stumbled in his first taste of the big leagues for the Nationals, but eventually found his footing. During the month of September, he slashed .292/.353/.431, while adding two homers, 13 RBIs, and an OPS of .781.
Defensively, Ruiz is projected to be above average. Back in 2020 MLB Pipeline stated,
"“He’s agile, possesses soft hands and frames the ball well, but his receiving can get lackadaisical. He can flash solid arm strength but his accuracy wavers at times…”"
Buying out Ruiz’s arbitration years now is a win for both sides. It allows Ruiz to get paid earlier than if he had waited to reach arbitration, while the Nats lock up a cornerstone player for the foreseeable future.