Eli Whiteside has been a busy guy.
First the Yankees claimed him off waivers from the Giants in early November. Then he avoided arbitration with the Yankees by signing a one-year, $625,000 deal. Then the Yankees dropped him from the 40-man roster and placed him back on waivers.
And now the Blue Jays have claimed Whiteside, assuming his $625,000 contract and putting him on their 40-man roster. For now, at least. Who knows how long that will last considering Whiteside’s recent travels and Toronto’s tendency to claim and waive players constantly.
Meanwhile, he’s a 33-year-old career .215 hitter and no higher than third on the Blue Jays’ current catching depth chart, all while the Yankees try to replace Russell Martin behind the plate.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.