Cardinals sign catcher Koyie Hill to minor-league contract

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Koyie Hill was non-tendered by the Cubs in December after batting .194 with two homers and .545 OPS over 153 plate appearances in 2011, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the has latched on with the division-rival Cardinals on a minor-league deal.

Hill, who turns 33 in March, has a .211/.275/.298 batting line over 927 plate appearances in the majors. He has thrown out 28 percent of attempted basestealers.

Gerald Laird returned to the Tigers this offseason on a one-year, $1 million contract, so Hill gives the Cardinals one more option as a potential backup for Yadier Molina. Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson are also expected to be in the mix.

A couple of former major leaguers choose to stay in Asia

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Two guys who spent some time in the bigs but who have found more success in Asia have decided to stay in Asia.

Darin Ruf has re-signed with the Samsung Lions of KBO, per MLB Trade Rumors. Ruf, who played five years for the Phillies but didn’t really have the numbers to stick, has stuck just fine in Korea. In two seasons in the offense-friendly league he has hit 64 homers and has put up a line of .322/.412/.587. His new deal with Samsung will pay him a guaranteed $1.4 million with $300K in potential bonuses.

The other guy — Nick Martinez — has signed a $2.5 million plus incentives deal to stay with the Nippon Ham Fighters of NPB. The former Rangers starter went 10-11 with a 3.51 ERA for the Fighters in 2018. He was 17-30 with a 4.77 ERA in four seasons with Texas.

Maybe Ruf and Martinez still have U.S. major league dreams, but guaranteed bucks in the Korean and Japanese majors is better than signing minor league deals and riding busses here.