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.
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.
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.