Jeff Keppinger Rumors

White Sox Ready To Sell; Won’t Trade Sale Or Konerko

We heard last week that the White Sox had begun to receive calls on their veteran players. Now, rival executives tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the ChiSox are "open for business" and willing to discuss anyone on their roster with the exception of Chris Sale and Paul Konerko.

That means that even John Danks, who just last year signed a five-year, $65MM extension with the Sox, could be had in the right deal. The team also has desirable trade chips like Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, Jesse Crain, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Thornton and Jake Peavy (though he's currently on the DL). Heyman also adds that Jeff Keppinger's name has already come up in conversations, despite the fact that he signed a three-year deal just this past offseason.

Not surprisingly, one executive told Heyman that Adam Dunn will be difficult to move. Dunn is owed $15MM in 2014 and is hitting .194/.303/.460 this season. Another said that Peavy will be tough to find a match for as well. The White Sox will have a high asking price on their co-ace, but teams won't have much time to determine if he's truly healthy.

Another executive told Heyman that the Mets could look at Ramirez as a potential long-term option at shortstop. While he's not hitting for power anymore, Ramirez is batting .280/.308/.345 with 18 stolen bases and outstanding defense, according to advanced metrics like UZR and DRS. He's owed $10MM in 2014 and has a $10MM club option for 2015 on his contract as well.


White Sox To Sign Jeff Keppinger

Jeff Keppinger greatly improved his stock in 2012, going from a non-tender a year ago to a three-year, $12MM contract that the White Sox announced today.  A break in Keppinger's right fibula suffered last month didn't deter his suitors, which also included the Yankees, Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Cubs.  

Keppinger, who is represented by CSE, scored the first multiyear deal of his career and a larger guarantee than Maicer Izturis received from Toronto.  He will earn $3.5MM in 2013, $4MM in 2014 and $4.5MM in 2015 under the terms of the three-year contract.

Uspw_6499366Keppinger, 32, is a career .288/.337/.396 hitter, and is coming off an excellent season with the Rays in which he posted an .806 OPS in 418 plate appearances. He spent time at first base, second base, and third base in Tampa Bay last year.  Keppinger, who rarely strikes out, figures to see ample playing time at third base for Chicago. 

So far this offseason, the White Sox also signed Jake Peavy to a two-year, $29MM deal and picked up Gavin Floyd's $9.5MM option.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the agreement, with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports adding the dollar amount.


AL East Notes: Rays, Yankees

The Orioles' re-signing of left fielder Nate McLouth sums up the Winter Meetings Day 3 action coming out of the AL East.  The latest around the division:

  • The Rays pursued right fielder Nate Schierholtz to the end and finished a close second, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.  Schierholtz ultimately signed a one-year, $2.25MM deal with the Cubs.
  • "There's a few potential outcomes that are really exciting to us and we're going to work toward trying to make them materialize," Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times earlier today.
  • The Yankees never made offers to Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez, tweets Jack Curry of YES Network.
  • Scott Boras questioned the Yankees' choice to reduce payroll, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.  Responded president Randy Levine, "Scott’s a great agent, but he’s an agent.  Last I looked, he had zero experience running a professional sports team. I think the Yankees have done pretty well following our own course. My advice to Scott is stick to your day job representing players."


Quick Hits: Rockies, Bonifacio, Oliver, Ibanez

The Winter Meetings rumors continue to fly in, so let's round up another batch of them….

  • The Rockies have told reps for free agents that they're attempting to acquire a pitcher via trade, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Colorado would also like to bring back Jeff Francis on a minor league deal, tweets Renck.
  • Although he indicated last night that Emilio Bonifacio could be available, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets today that the Blue Jays don't want to move him, "at least not yet."
  • Darren Oliver remains undecided about whether he'll play in 2013, and hasn't requested a trade, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Blue Jays have exercised their '13 team option on the left-hander.
  • The Astros are planning to take two players in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
  • The Mariners remain in play for virtually every available hitter, tweets Knobler. Among their targets is Raul Ibanez, who the M's are "pushing" for, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Ibanez would prefer to rejoin the Yankees, but New York hasn't been as aggressive as Seattle, tweets Sherman.
  • According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Yankees bid higher than the White Sox for Jeff Keppinger, but the utility infielder chose Chicago.
  • In addition to Keppinger, the White Sox plan to bring in another infielder and a catcher, assuming A.J. Pierzynski leaves, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.

NL Rumors: Padres, Nats, Marlins, D-Backs, Mets

A few of the latest updates from Nashville relating to National League clubs:

  • The Padres figure to be seeking just one more starting pitcher, says MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).
  • Although the Nationals' starting rotation is set, the team may still look to add pitching depth, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
  • Before Eric Chavez agreed to terms with the Diamondbacks, he had spoken to the White Sox, while Jeff Keppinger, who signed with the Sox, was coveted by the Marlins, says Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter links).
  • The signing of Chavez gives the D-Backs one too many infield bench options, and a team source says someone is likely to be traded, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter). Piecoro names John McDonald as the possible odd man out.
  • The Mets may leave Nashville having only finalized the David Wright extension, says Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. One Mets official tells Rubin that teams are asking for Zack Wheeler in virtually every trade proposal, even for platoon-type catchers, which isn't happening (Twitter links).

AL East Rumors: Rays, Jays, Keppinger, Ellsbury, O’s

As the third day of the 2012 Winter Meetings gets underway, let's round up a few items out of the AL East…

  • Keppinger was the Yankees' first choice as the right-handed part of a third base platoon, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  With Keppinger signing with Chicago, the Yankees are forced to move on to Plan B.

Earlier updates:


White Sox In On Jeff Keppinger

Earlier today, we heard from Joel Sherman of the New York Post that there are six teams, including the Yankees, in the mix for Jeff Keppinger. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter), another one of those six clubs is the White Sox, who are eyeing Keppinger as a possible third base option.

Based on reports from yesterday and this morning, the cost to land Keppinger might be in the range of $13MM for three years. If the 32-year-old is willing to accept a two-year deal, something in the neighborhood of $10MM could get it done.


Yankees Have Very Strong Interest In Keppinger

Wednesday: The Yankees "really want" Keppinger, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, who reports that Keppinger could get three years and at least $13MM or more (Twitter link).

Tuesday, 5:47pm: Keppinger is said to be looking for around $12MM over three years, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

2:30pm: The bidding for Keppinger is in the neighborhood of $8MM for two years, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

12:58pm: The Yankees have very strong interest in free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan.  The team met with his agent yesterday, as Alex Rodriguez's injury has accelerated their timetable.  Keppinger is recovering from a significant injury in his own right, a broken fibula, but it hasn't seemed to affect free agent interest much.


Marlins Pursuing Third Basemen

2:18am: In addition to Reynolds and Hannahan, the Marlins are interested in Jeff Keppinger and Ian Stewart acccording to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (on Twitter).

12:24am The Marlins' trade of Yunel Escobar to the Rays earlier tonight was prompted by the fact that Escobar approached the club saying he was not comfortable at third base just days after telling them otherwise, writes Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.

Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said that Escobar's $5MM salary will be re-invested toward finding a suitable third base replacement, either via free agency or trade. Earlier today it was reported that the Marlins have interest in Mark Reynolds, and the team has also been linked to Jack Hannahan tonight, though Hannahan's salary certainly won't approach the $5MM mark. For now, the Marlins aren't close to anything, says Capozzi.

Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel notes, via Twitter, that Zack Cox will get a look in Spring Training but likely isn't ready. The Marlins acquired Cox in exchange for Edward Mujica this past July.


Free Agent Rumors: Oswalt, Delmon, Sizemore, Ross, Ludwick

Here's the latest from the Winter Meetings on a handful of free agents:

Earlier updates: