Keppinger stood in at 2nd base (some would say literally stood) for the injured Freddy Sanchez after a trade on July 19th with the Houston Astros for Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel. He got off to a nice start, playing 2B and batting 2nd, and was an improvement over Bill Hall and Manny Burris. His final numbers were 255/285/618, reflecting a pretty bad slump at the end of the season. He even shaved off his beard in the last week or two of the season to try and get something going.
I got my technique down and everything, why not another poll? This one Gints fans won't be so passionate about most likely: the decision to offer arbitration to Jeff Keppinger.
Keppinger is going into his 3rd arbitration and according to MLB TradeRumors is projected at 2.7MM.
Here is a blurb that describes Kepp as he was incoming: For the Giants, in Keppinger they land a solid, contact-hitting infielder. The 31-year-old righty has played plenty of second, third and short, and he's swung a decent bat. Over the past three years, he's batted .282 with more walks than strikeouts, and he'll give Bruce Bochy options, which is something every manager likes to have. And as an added bonus, Keppinger remains under team control in 2012.
I think its fair to be skeptical of any ability to play either SS or 3B, Keppinger demonstrated neither range nor an arm during the year. I would say he's the slowest player on the team by a long shot. He can hit, but not for much power and doesn't walk a lot either, although his career numbers are 281/332/720. Personally I was pretty unimpressed with Keppinger beyond a quick fill in. If the Giants can send out a blast fax with that above blurb though, maybe some team squints and wants a piece.
So if you're a 31 year old utility guy and Brian Sabean calls you a luxury, you're getting non tendered right? Not quite so fast. The middle infield market is white hot right now, with GMs lining up to dole out 2 year contracts. So there is the chance that a cost controlled one year player might have some value, bad fielding and all. I'm not sure how much he would fetch on the open market, my guess would be a failed pitching prospect that the Giants scouts have their eyes on.
Quick note: I would be shocked if the Giants don't offer Fontenot arbitration with the FA market so crazy. Given that he can play a decent 2B, SS and 3B I think he's a bargain this year. His estimate is $1.3MM, although I do question that amount a little due to the Giants giving him the take it or leave it offer last year. If anybody thinks its worth it, I'll be happy to throw up a Fontenot poll as well.
So Keppinger, we have 4 scenarios because of the obvious trade angle. Is he getting dropped to save the budget, picked up for the year to back up Freddy Sanchez, picked up to be moved along or the fourth choice: a hard bargaining Sabey Sabes, who does like to play hardball with guys in the 500K-3MM range from time to time.
Thanks to Fla-Giant and Goofus for straightening out my previous effort. I'm all ears for corrections again.