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Report: Nicholas Castellanos wants to be traded before spring training

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David Meter, the agent of Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, says his client prefers to be traded before the start of spring training, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. Meter said, “He wants to win and understands the direction of the franchise right now is to procure prospects. That being said, he would rather start with his new club going into spring training.”

Castellanos, 26, is entering his final season before free agency and has very obviously been made available for trade by the rebuilding Tigers. Last season, he hit a highly productive .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs, 89 RBI, and 88 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. A former third baseman, he spent all of his defensive innings in the outfield, so he would could play corner outfield, third base, or DH for a new team.

The Tigers have reportedly drawn interest in Castellanos from the Braves and Dodgers, but both clubs recently signed outfielders in Nick Markakis and A.J. Pollock, respectively. The Mets also had interest earlier this offseason but their outfield may be full as a result of signing Jed Lowrie, as infield prospect Jeff McNeil will now get more playing time in the outfield. It is not clear which teams would now be interested in Castellanos, but free agent Bryce Harper may need to sign a contract first to clear the smoke.

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.