Report: Padres, Astros have discussed starting pitching

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres and Astros have discussed starting pitching, with the July 31 trade deadline looming. The 42-49 Padres still haven’t officially committed to selling, but a poor showing in the upcoming week could seal their fate. Lin notes that Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are believed to have piqued the Astros’ interest.

Cashner, 28, has had a mediocre season, posting a 4.10 ERA with a 97/34 K/BB ratio in 109 2/3 innings. The biggest factor for him, though, is that he has been able to stay healthy. The right-hander is hoping to cross the 30-start threshold for the first time in his career. Cashner is earning $4.05 million this year and will be eligible for his third and final year of arbitration after the season.

Ross, 28, started off slow but has picked things up as of late. He owns a 3.34 ERA with a 118/55 K/BB ratio in 110 1/3 innings. The right-hander is earning $5.25 million this season and has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining.

The Astros are also believed to have significant interest in Reds starter Johnny Cueto, among others.

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.