Cardinals sign star Korean reliever Seung-Hwan Oh


Making official what was reported Sunday, the Cardinals have signed Korean reliever Seung-Hwan Oh to a one-year contract with a team option for 2017.

Oh has a spectacular, decade-plus track record of dominance–for eight years in Korea and the last two years in Japan–saving 357 games with a 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts in 646 innings through age 32. That includes a 2.73 ERA and 66/16 K/BB ratio in 69 innings last season, during which Oh saved 41 games in the Japanese League.

St. Louis is set at closer with Trevor Rosenthal, but in announcing the signing general manager John Mozeliak indicated that Oh will be given an opportunity to claim a prominent late-inning bullpen role. Oh is a legend in Korea–his nicknames are “The Final Boss” and Stone Buddha”–and this signing has a chance to be an underrated pickup for the Cardinals.

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.