The New York Yankees announced Monday that they have agreed to a one-year contract with catcher Eli Whiteside. The deal is worth $625,000 according to a tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney. Whiteside came over from the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants via waivers earlier this month.
As the Yankees await word from Andy Pettitte about his intentions and have negotiations stagnated with Mariano Rivera, the team has to work on these types of deals too with the non-tender deadline (Nov. 30) looming. Whiteside is nothing more than a backup catcher and the Yankees are expected to increase their pursuit of Russell Martin as the full-time backstop once Pettitte is signed. That said, there were grumblings that Martin and the Yankees had discussions over the weekend.
Whiteside is 33-years-old and has totaled 537 plate appearances in five Major League seasons. He has a triple slash line of .215/.273/.335 over his career suggesting he’s nothing more than a backup option for the Yankees. Whiteside played a majority of his time with Triple-A Fresno this season, hitting .224 in 60 games. He did throw out 36.2 percent of attempted base stealers.
Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli are still in the mix for the backup position in 2013. Austin Romine will likely start 2013 in Triple-A after missing much of this season with an injury and not performing all that well in the Arizona Fall League with the bat.
The other Yankees who need to be tendered a contract offer by the deadline or become free agents are; Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner, Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Jayson Nix and David Robertson. Each of those players seems to be a lock for a deal, but Major League Baseball Trade Rumors lists Nix as a non-tender candidate. They project he would earn $900K in arbitration, which would make him a fine signing in my opinion.