The Yankees announced this evening that they have claimed catcher Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Giants. It’s your move, Russell Martin.
Whiteside, 33, appeared in 12 games with the World Series champion Giants this season and owns a meager .215/.273/.335 batting line and a .608 OPS over 537 plate appearances in the majors. He is arbitration-eligible this offseason, but the Yankees may attempt to slip him through waivers and keep him as a non-roster player.
Whiteside could be in the mix for the backup catcher job during spring training along with former teammate Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli, though he is more likely to open next season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.