Giants Trade For Jeff Keppinger

Jeff Keppinger to the Giants for Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel. Easily the most immediately satisfying trade since Bengie Molina went to the Rangers. But that's a different kind of trade, one that was like Benitez-for-Messenger or Morris-for-anyone. Those were great trades because of who was leaving. But a trade where the Giants intended to acquire an upgrade? This might be my favorite move since ...

... oh, god ...

... since the A.J. Pierzynski deal. That's how long it's been since I've loved an upgrade via trade at first blush. I suppose Fontenot for Evan Crawford was okay on the surface, but it was 2004 the last time the Giants traded for a win-now player, and I thought, "Yes! Instant upgrade!"

Obviously, I was wrong with the Pierzynski deal, and I was way, way wrong in not liking the Javier Lopez and Freddy Sanchez trades. So maybe you should all be afeared that I'm digging this Keppinger deal so much. But the Giants had a huge need in their middle infield. Miguel Tejada> strained something fierce last night, and those old-timers don't heal that well. He was the hottest-hitting middle infielder on the team. Bill Hall> is a shell, Manny Burriss never even had the thing in the shell in the first place, and Brandon Crawford is an extreme glove-only player at this point. Fontenot's alright. That leaves one alright middle infielder.

Keppinger is a high-contact guy -- a slappy guy who usually walks more than he strikes out:

 

                                                                                
Year   Age  Tm   G   PA   AB   H  2B 3B HR RBI SB CS  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
2004    24 NYM  33  123  116  33   2  0  3   9  2  1   6   7 .284 .317 .379 .696
                                                                                
2006    26 KCR  22   67   60  16   2  0  2   8  0  0   5   6 .267 .323 .400 .723
2007    27 CIN  67  276  241  80  16  2  5  32  2  1  24  12 .332 .400 .477 .877
2008    28 CIN 121  502  459 122  24  2  3  43  3  1  30  24 .266 .310 .346 .657
2009    29 HOU 107  344  305  78  13  3  7  29  0  2  27  33 .256 .320 .387 .707
2010    30 HOU 137  575  514 148  34  1  6  59  4  1  51  36 .288 .351 .393 .744
2011    31 HOU  43  169  163  50   9  0  4  20  0  1   4   7 .307 .320 .436 .755
7 Seasons      530 2056 1858 527 100  8 30 200 11  7 147 125 .284 .337 .395 .731
Provided by Baseball Reference. Generated 7/19/2011.

Without looking, I'll guess that his .337 career OBP is 100 points higher than the next Giant. Maybe 200. As a fielder, it looks like he's in the Fontenot mold of won't kill you at short, but probably a second baseman. Fine. Great. Grand. He's an upgrade. And we don't have to look at Jamey Carroll any more than we need to, either.

Sosa used to be a prospect, but it's been four years since his last statistically impressive season. He started hot in AA this season, but scuffled upon a promotion. Stoffel is a minor-league reliever. Want a minor league reliever? Help yourself. Take a couple. They don't eat much, and they usually clean up after themselves. Take one home for the wife, too.

That isn't a perfect organizational philosophy -- the two best relievers on the team right now are homegrown, after all -- but it's close. Jason Stoffel might end up closing for the Astros, and Keppinger might dissolve into Ricky Ledee and hit .230/.280/.290 for the rest of the year, but the worst-case scenario is an awful stand-alone argument against a trade. Sosa and Stoffel have upside, but it's far enough away that they're exactly the kinds of players the Giants should trade for a fair-not-outstanding player like Keppinger.

Hated the Freddy Sanchez trade. Hated Foppert for Randy Winn. Loved Pierzynski for buncha no-name pitchers. Love the Keppinger trade. That's fair warning.

edit: Also, Brandon Belt was called up and is starting tonight. This day is a lot more interesting than it was an hour ago.

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