6:25 pm: The Twins have announced the deal. It’s a one-year, $750K guarantee that contains $250K in possible incentives (h/t to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net).
5:34 pm: Ruiz and the LG Twins are in agreement on a deal, tweets Jon Heyman of the MLB Network.
8:18 am: Third baseman Rio Ruiz is close to joining the LG Twins of Korea Baseball Organization, reports Daniel Kim. He’ll become teammates with former big leaguers Casey Kelly and Adam Plutko, also signed by the Twins this month.
Ruiz, 28 in May, was drafted by the Astros out of Bishop Amat Memorial High School in the fourth round back in 2012. The club won him over with a well-above slot $1.85MM bonus to forgo a USC commitment. That high school’s claim to fame is producing longtime Rangers star Michael Young. Ruiz was considered a 55 grade prospect after being drafted, with Baseball America drawing a comparison to Eric Chavez on the optimistic side.
Coming up in the minors, it was thought that Ruiz would challenge Colin Moran as the Astros’ third baseman of the future. Instead, he was shipped to the Braves along with Mike Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman for Evan Gattis in January 2015 as part of that club’s sell-off. Ruiz made his MLB debut with the Braves by way of a 2016 September call-up.
Ruiz failed to take off with the Braves, eventually becoming Mike Elias’ first 40-man roster addition as GM of the Orioles in December 2018 via a waiver claim. The move was fitting, as Elias had served as the Astros’ director of amateur scouting when Ruiz was chosen. It was 2019 in Baltimore when Ruiz got his most extensive big league look, as he served as the club’s primary third baseman. Ruiz managed only a 79 wRC+ despite often sitting against lefties.
This spring, Ruiz took up second base in an attempt to increase his versatility. By May, the Orioles designated him for assignment. The Rockies claimed Ruiz off waivers, eventually removing him from their 40-man roster in October.