Giants re-sign Eli Whiteside to minor-league contract

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UPDATE: Whiteside is officially back in San Francisco, getting a minor-league contract, so the Giants made the correct call in non-tendering him. He’ll have to compete for a roster spot during spring training.

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Earlier this week the Giants non-tendered Eli Whiteside, making him a free agent, but John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the 32-year-old catcher is “close to a deal” to return at a lower salary.

Buster Posey’s season-ending injury led to a career-high 236 plate appearances for Whiteside and he was predictably stretched too thin as a regular, hitting just .197 with hour homers and a .574 OPS.

By non-tendering him the Giants avoided paying Whiteside around $750,000 via arbitration, so presumably he’s willing to accept a one-year deal for something a little closer to the new $480,000 minimum salary to back up Posey again.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.