Darin Ruf has been one of the best stories of the Farhan Zaid-era San Francisco Giants, and now he’s sticking around for a while. On Tuesday it was reported that the Giants had extended Ruf for two years, keeping the dinger-masher in orange and black for the foreseeable future.
The contract will pay the powerful right-handed slugger $3 million in 2022 and in 2023, with a team option for 2024. The option is for $3.5 million, with a $250,000 buyout, bringing the guaranteed total of the deal to $6.25 million.
First baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf and the San Francisco Giants are in agreement on a two-year, $6.25 million contract extension that includes a third-year club option, sources tell ESPN. The deal buys out his final two years of arbitration and potentially one free agent season.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 22, 2022
If that seems like a steal for Ruf, well ... it is. But because he’s still under team control, the two-year extension covers his final years of arbitration, so it’s a good deal for Ruf in addition to being a good deal for the team. A win-win!
Ruf’s story has been a great one. He was a fringe roster guy on the Philadelphia Phillies from 2012-2016, before leaving to play in Korea. He tore the stitches off the ball in the KBO for three years, and the Giants gave him a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training prior to the 2020 season.
He dominated Spring Training, made the team for the truncated pandemic season, and slashed his way to a .887 OPS. Last year he proved those glistening numbers were not just small sample size shenanigans, as he registered a .904 OPS in 312 plate appearances. His wRC+ of 144 was 16th in all of the Majors for players with at least 300 plate appearances.
Ruf’s value to the Giants increased over the offseason with the news that the designated hitter is coming to the National League full time. While Ruf has made some improvements and shown the ability to tread water on defense, he’s in the Majors for one reason and one reason only, and the DH will allow the Giants to showcase that.
It will be fun to see how the Giants use Ruf this year. He was initially thought to be a platoon player, but in 2021 ended up having more plate appearances against righties (172) than lefties (140). And while he absolutely crushed pitchers when he had the handedness advantage (1.007 OPS), he was still a comfortably above-average hitter against right-handers (.824 OPS).
And now he’s staying in the Bay for a while longer, hopefully to keep doing things like this: