Jordan Zimmermann won’t discuss extension once the season starts

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Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann is entering what could be his final season in Washington. Both sides have expressed interest in discussing an extension, but the right-hander wants the situation resolved by the start of the regular season, per CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman.

Zimmermann, 28, will earn $16.5 million in 2015, the second year of a two-year, $24 million deal signed in January 2014 to cover his third and fourth years of arbitration eligibility. He put up the best numbers of his young career last season, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio in 199 2/3 innings. He capped off the regular season with a no-hitter against the Marlins on September 28.

The Nationals also stand to lose Doug Fister to free agency, and will have to deal with Stephen Strasburg’s third and final year of arbitration eligibility going into the 2016 season. Gio Gonzalez can become a free agent after the 2016 season if the Nationals choose not to pick up his $12 million option for ’17. They’ll have to make some tough decisions about their pitching staff soon — Zimmermann is just the tip of the iceberg.

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.