Rays Sign Jeff Keppinger

Jeff Keppinger has signed a one-year Major League deal with the Rays, the team announced. The CSE client will earn $1.525MM in 2012, the Tampa Tribune tweets. Executive VP Andrew Friedman explained why Keppinger’s a fit via team press release. 

“He is a tough out, especially against left-handers, and his contact skills bring a useful dimension to our roster,” Friedman said. “We also value his defensive versatility, which will allow him to make an impact in many different ways."

Keppinger posted a .277/.300/.377 line in 399 plate appearances for the Astros and Giants in 2011. The 31-year-old only played second base last year, but he has started 80-plus games at shortstop and third base in his seven-year career. Keppinger earned $2.3MM last year and would have obtained a raise through arbitration, so the Giants non-tendered him in December, holding onto Mike Fontenot instead.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter) first reported the agreement after Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter) reported that a deal was close.

28 Responses to Rays Sign Jeff Keppinger Leave a Reply

  1. Houston_Astros 4 years ago

    Kepp makes this the best lineup in baseballs.

    • bayareabeast 4 years ago

      not only in baseballs but bags as well. no..not jeff bagwell

  2. The Rays and Braves are essentially the same team, or at least have the exact same philosophy. Anyone else noticed that?

    • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

      Other than that whole monetary difference thing, but that’s not really important.

      • It certainly makes what the Rays have done all the more impressive fielding a team with approximately $50MM less than Atlanta. I just like they both put such an emphasis on minor league talent and do it so well.

        • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

          Certainly. I just think the fact that the Braves payroll was twice the size of the Rays last year makes a big difference. It allows them to keep a guy like Jones or McCann for their entire career, as opposed to the Rays who have to let guys like Crawford walk because they don’t have any money.

  3. zwendkos 4 years ago

    Like this comment if you like this signing for the Rays.

    • Wilsonl 4 years ago

      This isn’t Facebook..

    • fxx3605 4 years ago

      like this comment if you dislike people who begin with the sentence “like this commeent…..”

      • Philip Marlowe 4 years ago

        I’m so conflicted! I don’t know what to do! Like it, because I dislike when comments begin with “Like this comment,” or dislike it, because I dislike when comments begin with “Like this comment,” and this one does! GAAAAAAHHHHH!

        But seriously, solid signing for the Rays. Gives them insurance in the MI behind S-Rod and Brignac. 

    • df7215 4 years ago

      I like this signing, but will not like your comment sir.

    • InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

      Oh good god…

  4. joeybw 4 years ago

    I found myself asking “why?” at first, saw it as a Rodney 2.0 but we are always lefty heavy and Keppinger is a righty who hits lefties very well. I like this and what’s the big loss? Elliot Johnson? I wont lose sleep.

  5. vikray 4 years ago

    Good signing, especially for a role player. He has one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball over the past few years. The Brignac/Rodriguez combo combined for more K’s last year than Keppinger had over his entire 7 year career. You can take that for what it’s worth, but with the Ray’s speed (2nd in MLB in SB in 2011) you never know what can happen when the ball’s in play.

  6. Despite of his bad D, his low K% & hitting for average may contribute team’s RISP hitting which was one of the worst last year 

    • alan104 4 years ago

      4-5 errors over the course of 120-125 games isn’t exactly bad defense. Especially for a middle infielder. You can get 2 of those in a single game. A boot and a bad throw.

      • gmenfan 4 years ago

        His defense goes beyond errors alone. He’s painfully slow, especially for a middle infielder, and he simply can’t cover enough ground to get to the balls that the average second basemen can get to. If you can’t get to a ball, you can’t boot it or throw it away, therefore you have fewer errors/higher fielding percentage.

        • alan104 4 years ago

          Do you think it was a good signing?

          • gmenfan 4 years ago

            I’d like to see the monetary figures, but assuming that it was relatively cheap, I like it.

          • gmenfan 4 years ago

            $1.525M … good signing.

  7. MrSativa 4 years ago

    Another close to perfect sign by the Rays. He can play several positions very well, decent bat with the only downside not the swiftest of foot. When you can upgrade your super utility players it’s always a good thing.

    • gmenfan 4 years ago

      I would disagree about his defense though. Yeah, he adequately fields what he gets to, but his lack of speed severely limits what he gets to. Having watched him for half a season in SF last year, it was actually kinda shocking how little ground he covers across the middle infield. If the ball is more than three to four strides away, he just doesn’t have the range to get there. Other than that, as you said, good signing for the Rays.

      • alan104 4 years ago

        He’ll definately help out as a hitter. Hopefully he doesn’t kill us in the field. I’ve never seen this guy play. Brignac can come in late to solidify the defense in close games.

  8. It is as if they sacrificed defense for a stronger bat. Brig was pretty good at fielding balls but you knew he was the out when you needed a hit. Kepp can’t field anything that isn’t in glove reach. But hardly ever strikes out and DOES get that needed hit. If you weigh it I think the deal neutralizes itself

  9. BWillie 4 years ago

    Kepp is a very steady big leaguer.  You will enjoy watching him play.  He shows up to play every day.

  10. Timothy Hays 4 years ago

    He never strikes out, but he also only has 2 seasons of over 400 plate appearances. He’s had one very solid season, but he’s never exactly been given the opportunity to be an every day player, and still probably won’t. He does seem to be bizarro Brignac. If he can get some big hits it looks like a good signing…if he gives up some big hits than it doesn’t

  11. wabethea 3 years ago

    kepp is journeyman utility player. would rather go get real SS and keep our guys as the backups.

    Disappointed letting Damon & Kotchman leave. Both were upgrades last year. I get scott has big upside, but pena? really! his best days are way in the past.
    Rodney? really! paid big bucks for him? what are the Rays doing? wonder what longoria/shields/price/moore/crawford think about paying rodney & pena FA contracts. B-sox & yanks do it not the Rays.

    the 3 overpaid guys are pena / upton / rodney

    I am very disappoionted in bringing .210% “k” Pena back. I like him as person, as def 1B, as HR guy-but kotchman was an upgrade last year (lead team batting over .300%). He is as good or maybe better def 1B. great guy. cost 5 million less.
    This reminds me of Balt who like these .200% hitters who hit HR’s. 

    I would like to see upton get traded as well. He plays with bad attitute, always trying to pull pitch for HR, instead of putting ball in play for base hits. He still has potential title that has value. Should have been traded two years ago.

    We have 7 SP, signed Pena, signed upton. Shields value will never get better.

    I say trade shields, pena, upton for quality C & SS & OF

    maybe Diamondbacks -who have good young C montero and SS drew. & Uptons brother. cinn has a prospect C ready to be rookie of yr if given playing time 
    yanks still have two good farm C’ers. texas & balt have farm SS that are ready.

    i’m just a fan that does not get it. not excited about pena / upton / rodney.

    I can not doubt Rays mgmt, they have done the unbelievable.

  12. alan104 4 years ago

    S-Rod is going to be a solid player. He does need to figure out his swing. He’s a strong guy who should be capable of putting up some decent numbers given the chance.

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