More non-surprising Day One Of The Hot Stove Season news: the Braves exercised options on shortstop Alex Gonzalez and ALL-STAR Omar Infante. They also signed reliever Scott Proctor to a one-year deal for $750,000 plus incentives.
Like I said, no-brainers. Gonzalez wasn’t any great shakes after coming over in the trade from Toronto, but he has pop, can still field well enough and, more importantly, he’s better and cheaper than just about any realistic option on the shortstop market. Infante, of course, constituted about two-thirds of the bailing wire that held the team together once Chipper Jones and Martin Prado went down with injuries. Brooks Conrad was the bubblegum, but the less said about him the better.
Proctor only pitched in six games for the Braves, but it was a rehab year for him. The incentive deal sounds right for a guy with his history, but if he’s back to his old form in 2011, Atlanta won’t mind paying the incentives.
The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.
Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.
Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.
The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.