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Ivan Nova has reportedly received offers in three-year, $36MM range

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According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, Pirates’ starter Ivan Nova is in line for a three-year, $36 million offer similar to the one J.A. Happ took with the Blue Jays prior to the 2016 season. Nova’s agent, Greg Genske, confirmed that they’d been receiving offers in that range, though he didn’t name any current suitors.

Nova got off to a rough start with the Yankees during the first half of the 2016 season, posting a 4.90 ERA that looked like it was on pace to rival the career-high 5.07 mark he hit in 2015. He was dealt to the Pirates at the trade deadline and made remarkable strides over the final two months of the regular season, thanks in part to a deflated 3.06 ERA and a 17.33 K/BB rate over 64 2/3 innings in Pittsburgh’s rotation. His strikeout rate kept pace with his career 6.7 K/9 average, ramping up to a modest 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings, but it was his exceptional control that helped keep him ahead of opposing batters with just three walks in 263 batters faced.

The 29-year-old’s transformation on the mound seemed simple enough. Following his transition to Pittsburgh, Nova tweaked the release point on his curveball and focused on utilizing his breaking ball early in the count to get more first-pitch strikes. The change appears to have worked, and could give potential suitors confidence in the right-hander’s continued success in 2017. Whether or not Nova can net a more lucrative contract remains to be seen.

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.