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Darin Ruf signs to play in South Korea

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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.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.