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White Sox Wed Dec 05 2012

White Sox Sign Veteran Infielder Keppinger

Sox_200.pngWelcome aboard, Jeff Keppinger!

White Sox Nation's reaction? It's pretty much been "Meh."

The Sox inked the veteran to a three-year, $12 million deal today. Keppinger is a versatile defender who can play any position in the infield, and he's not bad with the bat. In 2012, he posted a .806 OPS with the Rays, the highest mark in his career.

The guy has a couple marks against him, though. Keppinger is 32, so he doesn't fit any sort of youth movement. He's a journeyman, and the Sox will be his seventh team in his career. And most obviously, he's Jeff Keppinger. Nothing to get too excited about.

My biggest issue is that the infielder may have suckered Chicago with a contract-year push. His WAR last year was a very solid 2.4. This is the highest number by far in his career, and he's actually totaled negative WARs several times. Now he's signed the largest contract in his life. I would bet anything that regression to his career averages -- .281/.332/.388 before last year -- is eminent.

Keppinger can still be a decent player. He can fill the hole at third (3.9 UZR at the position) and be a cheaper option than Kevin Youkilis. And it's not like Keppinger is a terrible player. I just can't envision him repeating his 2012 season with Tampa.

If the Sox bring Youk back? Keppinger can be the top backup infielder, a better (and less washed-up) version of the O-Dog. You can do worse than Jeff Keppinger.

That seems to be the prevailing tagline from Sox fans.

 
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