Skip to content

Jeff Keppinger for $12 million is a bit of a reach

Dec 5, 2012, 2:17 PM EDT

Jeff Keppinger AP

Obviously, it’s a good idea not to give three-year contracts to part-time players unless you have to. Unfortunately, in this winter’s free agent market, the White Sox felt they had to. Jeff Keppinger probably had multiple teams interested in him at $8 million for two years, so the first team to go to $12 million for three was the one that got him.

In Keppinger, the White Sox are getting an infielder who provides most of his value as a starter against lefties. He’s a lifetime .269/.321/.358 hitter against righties, and he doesn’t make up for it with his glove, which is poor at second and probably a bit below average at third.

Keppinger’s list of comparables doesn’t make him look like a very good bet as he heads into his age-33 season. Keppinger hit .296/.341/.402 with 21 homers and five steals from ages 30-32. I found nine other second and/or third basemen who posted OPSs from .720-.770, hit fewer than 40 homers and stole fewer than 20 bases from ages 30-32. Here’s how they performed from 33 onward:

Steve Buechele: .177/.262/.215, 29 OPS+ in 130 AB
Jamey Carroll: .274/.353/.333, 89 OPS+ in 2,162 AB
Mike Gallego: .225/.299/.292, 59 OPS+ in 612 AB
Vance Law: .209/.303/.276, 66 OPS+ in 134 AB
Dave Magadan: .280/.382/.372, 101 OPS+ in 1,057 AB
Joe Randa: .282/.339/.432, 100 OPS+ in 1,748 AB
Johnny Ray: .277/.308/.371, 92 OPS+ in 404 AB
Denny Walling: .252/.320/.355, 88 OPS+ in 812 AB
Joel Youngblood: .252/.323/.353, 92 OPS+ in 842 AB

Carroll, of course, is still going.

Magadan would seem to be a nice comp for Keppinger, but he was the far better hitter (he was also left-handed). Magadan had a career 116 OPS+ prior to turning 33, whereas Keppinger is at 97. Randa had more power than Keppinger, but he’s the best hope for the White Sox here, as he was a better old player than a young one.

Buechele and Ray only made it to 33. Law actually went to Japan for his age-33 season before coming back and playing one more year in MLB.

While Keppinger is a useful player, he’s a worse bet than he was a year ago, when he was also a free agent (he was non-tendered by the Giants) and when the White Sox had no interest in him.  The White Sox already had a right-handed hitting third baseman in Brent Morel who may well prove to be the better player once defense is factored in. I realize funds are limited, but I think the White Sox would have been better off trading Gavin Floyd or Matt Thornton to free up money for a bigger offensive upgrade than they were giving Keppinger $4 million for each of the next three seasons.

Latest Posts
  1. Indians will activate Gavin Floyd from the disabled list on Tuesday

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT

    Gavin Floyd Gavin Floyd

    Gavin Floyd will pitch out of the bullpen for the Indians when he is activated on Tuesday.

  2. Francisco Rodriguez was claimed on waivers, but the Brewers pulled him back

    Aug 29, 2015, 8:20 PM EDT

    francisco rodriguez getty Getty Images

    The Brewers pulled Francisco Rodriguez back after he was claimed on revocable waivers last week.

  3. Mets acquire Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:28 PM EDT

    Addison Reed Addison Reed

    The Mets have bolstered their bullpen, acquiring Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks.

  4. Lance Lynn exits Saturday’s start with an ankle injury

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Lance Lynn Lance Lynn

    Lance Lynn hurt his right ankle in the eighth inning of Saturday’s start versus the Giants.

  5. Astros place Jason Castro on the disabled list, promote Max Stassi

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Max Stassi Max Stassi

    Max Stassi will return to the majors as Jason Castro was placed on the disabled list on Saturday.

  6. Vin Scully says 2016 will be his last season of broadcasting

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    vin scully getty Getty Images

    2016 will be Vin Scully’s last season behind the mic.

  7. Report: Mets claim Marc Rzepczynski on revocable waivers

    Aug 29, 2015, 5:26 PM EDT

    MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 06: Marc Rzepczynski #45 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 06, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rzepczynski was just acquired by the Padres last month, but he could soon be on the move again.

  8. Edwin Encarnacion slugs three home runs as Blue Jays thrash Tigers

    Aug 29, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion rounds the bases following a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT AP

    Encarnacion extended his hitting steak to 24 games and also drove in a career-high nine runs.

  9. Report: The Padres pulled Craig Kimbrel back off waivers

    Aug 29, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    San Diego Padres closer Craig Kimbrel pumps his fist as he watches the final out in the Padres' 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves in a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) AP

    Kimbrel won’t be traded this season.

  10. Anthony Gose forgets how many outs there after catching fly ball, run scores from second base

    Aug 29, 2015, 3:57 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTRlMDNlNmY2MWJkMTQ0Y2NhM2I0YmQzNjcxNTNmN2Y0 Getty Images

    Gose had a costly brain camp this afternoon against the Blue Jays.

  11. Important: There will be a Meeting of the Mookies this afternoon

    Aug 29, 2015, 1:13 PM EDT

    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04:  Mookie Wilson formerly of the New York Mets waves to the fans before throwing out the first pitch for a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of the National League Division Series at Shea Stadium on October 4, 2006 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Mookie Betts and Mookie Wilson will meet Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

  12. Terry Francona says he won’t use opt-out clause with Indians for “leverage”

    Aug 29, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19:  Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during batting practice before a game with the Boston Red Sox on August 19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Indians manager Terry Francona has the ability to opt out of his contract if team president Mark Shapiro or general manager Chris Antonetti were to leave the organization.

  13. Out since May with concussion symptoms, Justin Morneau begins minor league rehab assignment

    Aug 29, 2015, 11:36 AM EDT

    Injured Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, left, talks with teammate Carlos Gonzalez who he heads to the plate to face the San Diego Padres in the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Denver. The Rockies won 5-0. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP

    Morneau has been out since May 13 with a concussion symptoms and a cervical neck strain.

  14. Video: Catwalk at Tropicana Field leaves Kevin Kiermaier hanging

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    kiermaier

    The catwalk at Tropicana Field strikes again. After it robbed Twins rookie Miguel Sano of a home run on Thursday night, it fooled Rays outfield Kevin Kiermaier on this two-run homer from Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales last night.

  15. Mark Teixeira says he’s having “serious pain” when he tries to run

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:06 AM EDT

    on August 9, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images

    Teixeira fouled a ball of his right leg on August 17 and hasn’t seen much in the way of improvement.

  16. Video: Jonny Gomes pitched for the Braves last night

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT

    Atlanta Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes, who was pitching in relief, tips his cap as New York Yankees' Chris Young rounds the bases after a solo home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP

    With the Braves getting blown out by the Yankees last night, outfielder Jonny Gomes got an opportunity to pitch the top of the ninth inning. As you might expect, it was pretty entertaining.

  17. Settling the Score: Friday’s results

    Aug 29, 2015, 8:55 AM EDT

    Texas Rangers' Elvis Andrus, left, dunks Cole Hamels, right, as Hamels participates in a post game interview after their 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 4-1. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) AP

    A quick recap from a busy Friday around MLB, including a dominant outing from Cole Hamels.

  18. Ike Davis expected to be ready for spring training

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:40 PM EDT

    Ike Davis Ike Davis

    Ike Davis recently underwent hip surgery, but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training next year.

  19. Yankees outright Chris Capuano to Triple-A

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Chris Capuano Chris Capuano

    Chris Capuano has had an interesting season. In particular, he’s had a busy August.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Wright (2989)
  2. D. Span (2540)
  3. G. Stanton (2473)
  4. J. Fernandez (2443)
  5. G. Springer (2426)
  1. Y. Puig (2332)
  2. F. Rodney (2217)
  3. M. Teixeira (2192)
  4. G. Perkins (2075)
  5. H. Olivera (1955)