Dodgers accidentally gifting Darin Ruf to Giants is annoying
Raise your hand if you were aware the Los Angeles Dodgers had Darin Ruf in their possession back in 2016 after pulling off that Howie Kendrick trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.
That year, he was very much among the candidates to snag a bench spot on the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, but the addition of Chase Utley squeezed Ruf off, and his contract was sold to the KBO’s Samsung Lions. He played in South Korea for the next three seasons (2017-2019).
It’s hard to fault the Dodgers for that, though. Ruf, up until that point in his MLB career, was hitting .240 with a .747 OPS in 286 games and was entering his age-30 season. Better to add a veteran with ample postseason experience as an upgrade.
But then came Ruf’s showing in the KBO, where he hit .313 with a .968 OPS, 86 homers and 350 RBI in 404 games. And that’s when the San Francisco Giants and former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi came knocking.
Zaidi kept his eye on Ruf after knowing him during their Dodgers days and ended up offering him a minor-league contract with the Giants prior to the 2020 season.
The Dodgers let Darin Ruf go and now he’s slugging on the Giants
And that was that. Ruf just signed a contract extension with San Fran after batting .272 with a .900 OPS, 21 homers and 61 RBI across 157 games the last two years. That earned him a two-year, $6.25 million deal this offseason, which could keep him in the Bay Area through the 2024 season (team option for that year).
His versatility on defense is a huge plus, too. The 35-year-old can play first base and the corner outfield spots with regularity and at a high level. He made just one error in 80 combined games between those three positions in 2021 and will likely provide much-needed assistance with LaMonte Wade Jr. out for Opening Day and potentially beyond.
It’s not like this is a franchise-altering “mistake” for the Dodgers — if you can even call it that. It just so happens to be annoying that LA’s former GM left for the team’s biggest rival and kept tabs on a player who’s massively exceeded expectations since returning to MLB.
In the end, the Giants can take their mini victories while the Dodgers show off guys like Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts and AJ Pollock at the positions Ruf would’ve played had he remained in LA.