Sonny Gray
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Brewers, Padres remain active in Sonny Gray trade talks

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The market for Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray may be starting to shrink at last. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Brewers are still “prominent” in trade discussions for the right-hander, while the Reds have faded into the background somewhat after acquiring southpaw Alex Wood from the Dodgers and Tanner Roark from the Nationals. MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell adds that the Padres are “very much a part of trade talks” as well, though the club will likely look to the free agent market for at least one starting pitcher this offseason.

Gray’s stat line left much to be desired following a mediocre 2018 season, during which he went 11-9 in 23 starts with a combined 4.90 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9, and 1.7 fWAR through 130 1/3 innings out of the rotation and bullpen. It’s worth noting, however, that most of his poor performances were staged within the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium (4-4, 6.98 ERA, 1.29 SO/BB), while he presented well on the road (7-5, 3.17 ERA, 3.55 SO/BB) and may yet return to the sub-3.00 ERA, 3.0+ fWAR totals of years past.

Given his extreme splits, it appears the righty would be significantly more comfortable in the pitcher-friendly PETCO Park over Milwaukee’s Miller Park, though that’s far from the only consideration here. Reports from the last several weeks indicate that the Yankees’ asking price is still fairly high, as they’ve demanded everything from top-20 prospects to “high-end major league talent” in return for the starter. Even if the Brewers or Padres are willing to meet those demands, they’ll have to hope for a productive year from the 29-year-old in his walk year or else plan on shopping him around come July.

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.