Giants, Red Sox still in the picture for James Shields

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Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports that the Giants and Red Sox are still “in the picture” for free agent starter James Shields, adding that the Yankees are another possible suitor. According to Cafardo’s source, Shields is expected to fetch five years and around $110 million.

It was reported on Saturday that Giants senior VP and GM Brian Sabean isn’t expected to speak with free agent starter Max Scherzer, but because Scherzer is expected to sign for close to $200 million, it makes sense that Shields would be a more realistic option for the Giants.

The Red Sox have overhauled their rotation, trading for Rick Porcello and Wade Miley and signing Justin Masterson. They could go into spring training happy with their rotation as-is, but bringing Shields on board would be an upgrade over Joe Kelly, currently in the #5 slot.

Shields, who turned 33 on Saturday, finished the 2014 season with a 14-8 record, a 3.21 ERA, and a 180/44 K/BB ratio in 227 innings for the Royals. He had mediocre results in the post-season, posting a 6.12 ERA in 25 innings. “Big Game James” took losses in both starts he made against the Giants in World Series Games 1 and 5.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.