The Chicago White Sox have come to terms with free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger, this according to multiple outlets.
Keppinger, 32, is coming off a tremendous season in 2012 where he saw action in 115 games and compiled a .325/.367/.429 line in 418 plate appearances while seeing extensive time at first, second, and third base. Chicago figures to use the journeyman as their starting third baseman, though he has the versatility to play any infield position.
The contract is for three years and $12 million, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Keppinger is recovering from a broken fibula suffered this off-season, but he’s expected to be ready in time for Spring Training. He had been drawing interest from multiple teams, but was looking not only for security in the length of his deal, but an opportunity to gain everyday at bats.
This move solidifies the third base position for Chicago, which was vacated by Kevin Youkilis, who remains a free agent. The White Sox are severely right handed in their lineup, however, and this signing does nothing to address that issue.
It’s highly unlikely that Keppinger can somehow reproduce the kind of year he had at the plate in 2012 and he has a history of injuries that have robbed him of at bats when he has been given the chance to be a regular. At roughly $4 million per year, Keppinger is being paid in line with the role he’ll play.
Keppinger is a player not dissimilar in style to Marco Scutaro, who is five years older. Scutaro signed a three-year deal Tuesday with the Giants, but will make roughly $8 million more than Chicago is paying here. It’s a solid move to fill a need for the White Sox, and done without breaking the bank. That’s not easy to do in this market.