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Report: Cubs showing interest in Yu Darvish

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The Cubs are still in the market for another starting pitcher to round out their rotation, and Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports that they have their sights set on free agent right-hander Yu Darvish. Darvish is expected to command one of the biggest contracts in free agency this offseason, however, and it doesn’t look like the Cubs have settled on a concrete offer as of yet.

The 31-year-old righty split his 2017 run between the Rangers and Dodgers following a midseason trade to Los Angeles. He posted a combined 3.5 fWAR for the teams and went 10-12 in 31 starts, complemented by a 3.86 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 in 186 2/3 innings. More importantly, he paired his consistency on the mound with a bout of relative good health, missing just 10 days on the disabled list with a back injury and avoiding the shoulder and elbow problems that haunted him after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

While Darvish won’t come cheap, any team interested in signing him won’t have to relinquish a draft pick in order to do so. That could sweeten the deal for the Cubs, whose pursuit of fellow free agent Alex Cobb appears to have cooled considerably. Per Levine, both the “price and length” of a contract for Cobb was prohibitive, and it’s worth pointing out that the club would have had to throw in their second-highest draft pick and $500,000 in international bonus pool money with any potential offer.

As for Darvish, he seems to have his pick of teams to choose from: along with the Cubs, the Dodgers, Astros and Twins are all currently thought to be in on the right-hander.

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.