there are a lot of media pundits who are crying foul, claiming Andrew Friedman and his men are foolish to break up the clubhouse chemistry and unwise to piss off their best player by sending his personal catcher away, but I have yet to read any article about the real reasoning behind the move, or at least what I think is the real reason behind it all.
Andrew Friedman loves versatile players and personally plucked Austin Barnes off of the Marlins roster in that Dee Gordon trade. he is already 26 and should have reached the majors already, but with Grandal the clear cut superior player, and below replacement value player AJ Ellis was team's favorite son. there was no way to bring up a valuable player in his prime, near his peak years who can add so much to the ball club unless AJ was gone. should he have announced his retirement prior, calling this year the last season of his career, I would think the OPS against lefty for a backup catcher would not have valued as much as risking pissed off Kershaw, but there was plenty reasons to believe, in the upcoming off season, not resigning AJ back would have caused a lot of issues and ruckus from top to bottom of this oranization for Andrew and Co. trading him now while we have an arguably legitimate reason to do so, and replace him with clearly the better player like Ruiz yet who is also even older, would allow no chance of attachments by the fans or fellow players, and letting an aged back up catcher to leave the organization during this off season would make an seamlessly smooth and natural transition to a much younger and promising Austin to take over the AJ's role and more.
I am sure this was not going to be easy if Kershaw was still pitching every 5th day, but with him being out and knowing Grandal's health, the need of resting Yaz before the playoffs gave the FO a huge, albait controversal, excuse to finally pull the trigger.
Corey Bellinger, 2017 NL ROY.