When the Phillies traded Darin Ruf to the Dodgers as part of a deal to get Howie Kendrick, it was thought that the change of scenery might be a good thing for Ruf. Before even coming into camp though, Ruf decided that it might be a different scenery that he needed to jump-start his career. That scenery comes in the form of South Korea, where Ruf has traded in his Dodger Blue for Samsung Lions Blue.
Ruf will be paid $1.1-million for the upcoming season and the Dodgers received an undisclosed amount of money from the Lions to purchase Ruf's contract. The salary isn't the main perk for Ruf as he looks to turn his career around. He has been told that he will get regular playing time with the Lions, which is what he's going to need if he's going to salvage an MLB career. The Dodgers were unable to make any sort of assurances, and in fact, Ruf was going to have to fight just to win a bench job with LA.
The writing on the wall may have been the signature of outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who signed with the Dodgers and figures to see a decent amount of at-bats against left-handed pitching, which was going to be Ruf's niche with the team. LA also re-signed former Phillie Chase Utley to a one-year deal recently when he agreed to accept a bench role with the club.
Ruf put up big numbers in 2012 at Double-A reading, hitting 38 home runs to match the previous franchise record set by Ryan Howard. Ruf also hit .317 that season and appeared headed for a big career with the Phillies, but that never materialized. Last season, Ruf played in 43 games for the Phillies, hitting just .205 on the season. He was packaged with Darnell Sweeney to get Kendrick in a deal that was a money-dump for the Dodgers, erasing Kendrick's $10-million deal from their ledger.
Five other players who were on the Phillies 40-man roster on the final day of the 2016 season have also gone overseas this winter. Outfielder Jimmy Paredes and pitchers David Buchanan, Elvis Araujo, Frank Herrmann and Phil Klein have signed with Japanese teams.