As of Tuesday morning, the SF Giants had four arbitration-eligible players that had not agreed to salaries for 2022. However, they received some cost certainty and clarity by announcing an extension with one of their power-hitting outfielders.
SF Giants and Darin Ruf agree to two-year extension
Jeff Passan of ESPN confirmed that the Giants have signed Darin Ruf through the 2023 season with a club option for 2024. Joel Sherman of the New York Post provided a breakdown of the extension:
This deal buys out the remaining two years of Ruf's rookie contract and delays free agency by a season if the Giants exercise his option. It is hard to believe that Ruf is still under his rookie contract, but his career took a detour after a rough 2016 campaign.
Ruf played his first five seasons with the Philadelphia Philles where he slashed .240/.314/.433 (104 OPS+) with 35 home runs, 91 runs scored, and 96 RBI while working primarily as a platoon hitter against right-handed pitching. In his final season with the Phillies, the right-handed bat posted a .573 OPS in 89 plate appearances.
After that, he was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization along with Darnell Sweeney in a move that sent versatile infielder Howie Kendrick to Philadelphia. He was released shortly thereafter to pursue an opportunity in Korea.
From 2017 - 2019, Ruf established himself as one of the best bats with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). During that three-year stint, he registered a .313/.404/.564 line while blasting over 30 home runs in two of his three seasons and recording over 100 RBI in each season.
He scored a minor league deal with the Giants prior to the 2020 season that has paid dividends for both team and player. Since then, the 35-year-old outfielder has produced a 143 wRC+, which is the 14th-highest mark (Min. 400 plate appearances) in baseball.
The veteran slugger was due for a raise through arbitration, expecting to earn in the neighborhood of $2.6 million for 2022. However, the Giants decided to buy out his remaining arbitration years with two-year, $6.25 million pact with a team option for 2022.
The Giants had four arbitration-eligible players at the start of Tuesday and agreed to contracts with all four of them, thereby avoiding arbitration. They now have resolved all outstanding payroll items and have a luxury tax payroll that currently sits at $173.9 million, or roughly $56 million below the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT).