The Dodgers acquired 1B/OF Darin Ruf from the Phillies for Howie Kendrick back in November. Today the Yonhap News agency reports that the South Korean baseball club Samsung Lions signed Ruf to a one-year $1.1 million deal.
Ruf made $527,000 in 2016 and fell 14 days short of Super Two eligibility. If he had made it, he would’ve been due a somewhat substantial raise through arbitration. Or, possibly, could’ve been non-tendered by the Dodgers, who may not have wanted to give him a big raise. As it was, however, he was likely to be renewed for roughly the same in 2017 as he made in 2016, with no obvious path to substantial playing time for a veteran-laden Dodgers team.
Despite his short service time, Ruf is no spring chicken. He turned 30 last summer as he hit a meager .205/.236/.337 with three home runs and nine RBI in 89 plate appearances and has played parts of five seasons in the bigs. While he has shown promise at times, his window to establish himself as a regular and to get through his arbitration years in a way that could make him some decent money was closing. As such, from a purely financial point of view, it makes sense for Ruf to head to Korea for that $1.1 million, either to spend a few years as a regular there or to change the impression an American big league team may have of him.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.