Jeff Keppinger Rumors

AL East Notes: Rays, Matsui, Keppinger, Yankees

The weather is now cooperating in the Bronx as the Rays looks to put an end to their three-game skid tonight against the Yankees.  Here's a look at Tampa Bay and other items out of the American League East..

  • If called up to the majors, Hideki Matsui will make a salary of about $900K, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.  Last season, the veteran earned $4.25MM with Oakland, the previous low of his career.  In the meantime, Matsui will earn $10K a month with Triple-A Durham.
  • Jeff Keppinger's absence from the Rays and placement on the restricted list is related to his ongoing divorce case, writes Topkin.  Keppinger's case is set to go before a judge on May 29th when the Rays are at home facing the White Sox.  Within the Matsui article, Topkin notes that the infielder could still get paid for missed games with MLB approval.
  • While some have speculated that the Yankees could look to fortify the backend of their bullpen with an out-of-house addition, Mariano Rivera likes what he has seen out of David Robertson, writes Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.

Rays Place Jeff Keppinger On Restricted List

The Rays placed infielder Jeff Keppinger on the restricted list due to a personal matter following last night’s game, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. The Rays called up outfielder Brandon Guyer in a corresponding move and indicated that Keppinger’s absence will be a short one.

The Rays signed Keppinger to a one-year, $1.25MM contract in January. The 32-year-old has a .313/.338/.453 batting line in 68 plate appearances as a second and third baseman in Tampa Bay. Players on the restricted list do not count toward a team's 25-man or 40-man roster. They do not accrue service time and they don't always get paid.


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.



Rays, Keppinger Closing In On Deal

The Rays are closing in on a Major League deal with infielder Jeff Keppinger, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The team will likely finalize an agreement with the CSE client by the end of the week.

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.


Rays Interested In Jeff Keppinger

The Rays have expressed interest in free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweets. The CSE client is still in contact with multiple clubs.

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. It wouldn't be a surprise to see clubs such as the Yankees and Mariners express interest in Keppinger.


National League Non-Tenders

Here are this year's National League non-tenders. You can also keep track of all teams with our non-tender tracker and check out our list of non-tender candidates:


Giants Won’t Re-Sign Beltran Or Ross

The Giants won't re-sign Carlos Beltran or Cody Ross this winter, GM Brian Sabean told reporters, including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Manager Bruce Bochy hinted as much, after yesterday's Angel Pagan acquisition, saying the Giants seemed "pretty set" in the outfield, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.

"Simply put," Sabean said. "With Ross, we could never get on the same page. And Beltran, we knew it was going to be a stretch."

Here are some other Sabean highlights from Shea and Baggarly:

  • The Giants' payroll is maxed out. They'll have to decide whether to tender a contract to Jeff Keppinger or Mike Fontenot, since they can only afford to retain one. With the help of Matt Swartz, MLBTR projected Fontenot to earn about half as much as Keppinger, so Fontenot may have the edge.
  • Guillermo Mota is choosing between two different payout structures, but both Giants offers are for one year with a big league guarantee.
  • No other roster moves are expected besides non-tenders and minor league signings.
  • If the Giants hadn't traded Ramon Ramirez, they would have tendered him a contract.

NL West Rumors: Ludwick, Gillick, Padres, Rockies

The latest on various NL West clubs…


Giants Notes: Pujols, Cain, Lincecum, Zito

Giants GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy discussed the 2011 season at a year-in-review press conference today and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has the details:

  • The Giants are going to focus on the pitching staff before addressing the offense this winter.
  • There are strong indications that the Giants won’t push for free agents Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, according to Schulman.
  • Sabean won’t rule out a long-term deal for Tim Lincecum, but negotiations with Matt Cain will be a higher priority, since Cain is eligible for free agency one year from now. Lincecum appears to prefer short-term deals anyway.
  • Barry Zito and non-tender candidate Jonathan Sanchez will be in Spring Training competing for the rotation, according to Sabean. This is the strongest indication yet that Sanchez will be tendered a contract this offseason. His salary will likely surpass $6MM in 2012.
  • Sabean and Bochy said Aubrey Huff didn’t do enough to get in shape last offseason and they have told him to do more this winter.
  • The Giants have said they want to upgrade in center field and the leadoff spot. They don’t consider Justin Christian to be the solution, so Schulman wonders if Coco Crisp could be a fit.
  • If the Giants don’t pick up Jeremy Affeldt’s $5MM option, they’ll renegotiate another deal with him. As I explained earlier in the month, Affeldt would be in position to command a multiyear deal in free agency if the Giants allow him to hit the open market.
  • The Giants will look to add second base depth, though they may not be willing to meet Jeff Keppinger’s asking price.
  • Sabean says the Giants will give Cody Ross "due consideration" as a free agent, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter).

Giants Notes: Burrell, Ross, Sanchez, Whiteside

The 2011 Giants closely resembled last year’s World Championship team, but change lies ahead for San Francisco. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle explains that health considerations and the rising cost of arbitration eligible players will shape next year’s Giants team. Here are some highlights from Schulman's piece:

  • Pat Burrell could again sign a one-year deal when he hits free agency after the season (he earns $1MM this year), but he may have to retire because of a foot injury. Burrell says he’ll play as long as he’s healthy enough to take the field.
  • Schulman says it’s hard to imagine the Giants offering Cody Ross a raise from $6.3MM or agreeing to a multiyear deal when the outfielder hits free agency.
  • Mark DeRosa is hoping to sign closer to Atlanta, where he makes his home, and realizes he may be in line for a minor league deal.
  • The Giants will probably decline Jeremy Affeldt’s $5MM option for 2012, but they’ll “almost certainly” pursue him in free agency, according to Schulman.
  • Jonathan Sanchez and Andres Torres are non-tender candidates. When MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes identified Sanchez and Torres as non-tender candidates last month, he pointed out that Sanchez’s salary would rise over $6MM (he now earns $4.8MM) through arbitration. 
  • Eli Whiteside is another non-tender candidate, Schulman writes.
  • Jeff Keppinger, who’s arbitration eligible, will likely return in 2012 and it’s hard to imagine the Giants cutting Nate Schierholtz after seeing him progress in 2011.
  • The Giants may not have room on the roster for both Mike Fontenot and Emmanuel Burriss.