Eli Whiteside, Yankees avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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Eli Whiteside has agreed to a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Yankees, avoiding arbitration after being claimed off waivers from the Giants earlier this month.

Whiteside isn’t much of a hitter, batting .215 with a .608 OPS in 208 career games, but the 33-year-old has thrown out 31 percent of stolen base attempts and is more or less a prototypical backup catcher. He’s also shown signs of being a helluva linebacker and you never know when that could come in handy.

Even if the Yankees fail to re-sign Russell Martin it’s highly unlikely that Whiteside would be more than a twice-per-week starter, but he does give them a little depth at the position in the meantime.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.