Quick Hits: Keppinger, Pettitte, Bell, Molina

Here are some items of note on this Thursday, a day on which the Reds and Rangers each settled with one of their arbitration-eligible players. Remember to refer to our handy Arbitration Tracker, as those cases will continue to pop up in the coming weeks …

  • The Astros were thought to be mulling the idea of trading Jeff Keppinger this offseason, but the utility infielder is scheduled to undergo left foot surgery next week and will likely miss the start of the regular season, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. This offseason, Houston acquired Bill Hall to play second base and Clint Barmes to man shortstop, so Keppinger has become expendable, but the injury should put a significant dent in the likelihood of him being dealt before the season. Keppinger enjoyed a career year in 2010, hitting .288/.351/.391 in 575 plate appearances. The Astros and Yankees briefly discussed a swap for Keppinger, but those talks went nowhere.
  • The Yankees are willing to offer $12MM or $13MM to Andy Pettitte and are awaiting a decision from the lefty, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com. As Heyman notes, either of those figures would represent a modest raise for Pettitte, who earned $11.75MM in 2010, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Pettitte, who has been playing on one-year deals in each of the past four seasons, will probably either re-sign with the Yankees or retire.
  • Padres closer Heath Bell hopes to remain in San Diego with a multiyear contract, writes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Bell is in his final year of arbitration eligibility, and, having turned 33 in September, wants to garner long-term security, notes Center. Padres GM Jed Hoyer didn't offer much, saying that he and Bell's agent have "touched on it."
  • After splitting 2010 between the Giants and Rangers, free-agent catcher Bengie Molina is seeking the "right fit," and one scenario that interests him is backing up his brother Yadier with the Cardinals, tweets Heyman. However, St. Louis already has a solid backup backstop in Gerald Laird, who signed a one-year deal with the Cards in December, so that seems unlikely.

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