Jonathan Lucroy
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Report: Angels sign Jonathan Lucroy to one-year deal

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Free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy is staying in the AL West, albeit not with the Athletics. According to both Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan and Fancred’s Jon Heyman, the backstop has inked a one-year, $3.35 million contract (plus incentives) with the Angels for the 2019 season. The team has yet to officially announce the deal.

Lucroy, 32, is coming off of a one-year, $6.5 million gig with Oakland, during which he batted .241/.291/.325 with 26 extra-base hits, a .617 OPS, and career-worst 0.6 fWAR through 454 plate appearances. He didn’t look great behind the plate, either, where he finished with a .990 fielding percentage and 72 stolen bases, the most allowed by any major-league catcher in 2018.

While he failed to live up to the .292-average, 4.6-fWAR bar he set back in 2016, Lucroy was often commended for his leadership capabilities and became instrumental in guiding the club’s fragmented, oft-injured pitching staff to the playoffs. Once the A’s were unceremoniously bumped from the postseason, however, it proved rather difficult to put a price on those kinds of intangibles, and reports surfaced that contract negotiations had stalled with the two sides roughly $2.5 million apart. Now, Lucroy is positioned to take the reins behind the dish in Anaheim and will round out the Angels’ current catching trio alongside José Briceño and Kevan Smith.

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.