Jeff Keppinger

It is starting to look more and more like the Rays opening day lineup will consist of players currently on the roster. But that won’t stop the Rays from adding a player to bolster the bench.

According to Jerry Crasnick, the Rays have “expressed interest” in Jeff Keppinger. And Marc Topkin says the Rays have “had talks with” Ryan Theriot. Edgar Renteria’s name has also been mentioned.

The one thing all three of these guys have in common is they can play shortstop. Keppinger and Theriot can also play second base and the corner outfield spots, which would make them perfect for a bench spot on a Joe Maddon team.

But what this tells us is that Andrew Friedman may be more content to add veteran depth at shortstop, rather than go out and trade for an overpriced young stud shortstop. It also tells us that Elliot Johnson’s job on the bench is far from secure.

Renteria hit .251 with a .306 OBP in 2011 with the Reds. He will be 35 in 2012. Keppinger hit just .255 with a .285 OBP with the Giants in 2011 before they chose not to tender him a contract this off-season. He had a good 2010 campaign with the Astros, posting a .332 wOBA (.351 OBP). Theriot hit .271 with a .321 OBP with the Cardinals in 2011.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    Keppinger is a fairly up and down kind of player, but one thing he tends to do very well is make contact. He has 142 CAREER strikeouts in almost 2300 career plate appearances. He doesn't walk either (though he has walked more than he's struck out in his career) but if you are a team that likes to hit and run and move your runners along, Keppinger is a guy that can provide that dimension of offense for you. I'd be all for bringing him into the fold.

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  2. J 2.0 says:

    I would love Theriot, but is unlikely. I would still be very pleased with the addition of Keppinger. I am getting very excited for this season. I feel we are making a run at it this year while ballin' on a budget.

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  3. RedBull says:

    I'm trying to figure out how Theriot is being considered a bench player for us when he hits 70 points higher than our shortstops last year? My vote would be to sign Theriot to start at short, have Rodriguez be the utility, and trade Brignac for some new team towels!

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    • Tom says:

      Rodriguez has had an OPS of .705 and .680 the past 2 years. Theriot has had an OPS of .637 and .663 while playing in better hitter's parks and against weaker competition. On top of that Rodriguez plays superior defense and is younger than Theriot.

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