Cole Hamels told the Phillies he would not accept a trade to the Astros

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Even after bolstering their rotation with Scott Kazmir the Astros made a strong run at Cole Hamels, but a possible deal with Philadelphia came to a halt when Hamels used his no-trade rights to veto a potential move to Houston.

According to both Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com Hamels informed the Phillies at some point in the process that he would not accept a trade to the first-place Astros, causing them to focus on the eventual deal with the third-place Rangers.

Kazmir is merely a two-month rental for a team contending ahead of scheule, whereas the Astros no doubt liked the idea of being able to pair Hamels with Dallas Keuchel atop their rotation for several years of contending teams. It’s possible the Rangers’ offer would have topped the Astros’ offer anyway, but Houston’s involvement does signal that the Astros were willing to add significant salary now that they’re through the massive rebuild phase and firmly established as contenders.

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.