Tag:Jeff Keppinger
Posted on: June 17, 2011 7:49 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 8:35 pm
 

Report: Astros looking to trade Myers, Keppinger

By Matt Snyder

The Astros entered Friday night's action 14 games back in the NL Central, so it's no shock they are soon to be sellers -- especially now that Drayton McLane isn't forbidding it. It won't be surprising if they look to deal more than a handful of players, but two names in specific are already available, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com: Brett Myers and Jeff Keppinger.

Myers is the bigger name to potential suitors, despite his early-season woes. The 30-year-old starting pitcher is a proven innings-eater, as he racked up 223 2/3 last season for the Astros. He's 2-6 with a 5.03 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and a league-high 18 home runs allowed, but he was very effective in 2010 when he was 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA. Then again, he is owed $11 million next season, so with his bad start, it will mean he can't fetch nearly as much for the Astros as he could have in the offseason.

Keppinger might be easier to move, though. Since returning from injury, the utility player is hitting .301. He could play almost anywhere on the diamond (he's played everywhere but catcher, pitcher and center field in a major-league game during his career) and is cheap, with just one arbitration year left. 

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Posted on: May 23, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: May 23, 2011 11:01 am
 

Pepper: Bo Porter hoping to manage

By Evan Brunell

EYE ON THE JOB: Nationals' third-base coach Bo Porter knows what he wants, and that's a manager's job.

Porter has been one of the hottest names in managerial circles the last couple of seasons, so he figures to get the call eventually -- perhaps as early as next season. He's built up good experience so far, coaching for two years in the Marlins' farm system before becoming Fredi Gonzalez's third-base coach in Florida. He moved to the same role in Arizona for 2010, becoming bench coach once A.J. Hinch was fired. Porter interviewed for the Nationals' opening in 2009 (that went to Jim Riggleman) and also threw his hat in the ring last winter for the Mariners and Pirates jobs.

One might wonder why Porter's had a hard time snagging that manager's job if he's so highly regarded. That's because it's not easy for a first-time manager to get his break.

“It’s hard for anybody at any level to get their first job,” said Nationals general manger Mike Rizzo. “You have to have the right situation to be the perfect candidate to get your first job. There’s some luck involved, and you have to have that stick-to-itiveness that transcends any time line.”

Porter, for his part, believes being third-base coach is one of the -- if not the -- most challenging assistant coach positions in all of sports, and it's a spot that helps hopefuls prepare for becoming skipper.

“Jim Riggleman can’t jump into my brain and make a decision when the ball is in motion,” Porter said. “The same thoughts it takes to manage a game, it takes to be a third-base coach.” (New Jersey Star-Ledger)

MADOFF SCHEME: The New Yorker comes out with a fantastic article on the owner of the Mets, Fred Wilpon. It chronicles his rise to becoming the owner of the Mets, as well as detailing the scandal that threatens his grip on the team in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. It's a long article, but worth the read. (New Yorker)

DEEP DRAFT
: Everyone knows the Rays have 11 of the first 75 picks in the draft. But San Diego also has a nice haul, with five of the first 58. That will add a ton of talent from the talented draft into a Padres system already deep in corner infielders. That means you can bet on middle infielders being featured in the draft, along with the crucial center field spot and of course, pitching. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

DRAFTING BEST PLAYER
: The Milwaukee Brewers have two first-round picks and although it would be justified for the Brewers to seek drafting a hitter and pitcher apiece, scouting director Bruce Seid says the club will draft the best available player, period. Milwaukee could stand adding a shortstop to its system. Things get a bit more complicated as the No. 15 pick is due to being unable to sign their first-rounder last year. That means that this year, that pick is unprotected, and the player must sign as Milwaukee would not receive compensation again. That could influence the Brewers' choice toward drafting someone they know will sign. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

@LOMOMARLINS
: Logan Morrison is quickly emerging as the public face of the Marlins, in no small part due to his large Twitter following, cultivated because of his grounded personality and willingness to engage with the fans. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that he's hitting for a 1.044 OPS, either. (Palm Beach Post)

A-BALL Cardinals
: The Cardinals are bringing their low Class-A affiliate to Busch Stadium Thursday for rookies to get a taste of what it's like to play in a major-league stadium. "I think what happens being in the lower minor leagues [is] the big leagues can feel far away," Low-A pitching coach Tim Leveque said. "I think when you play in a ballpark like that, it gives them a taste of what their ultimate goal is. Hopefully it will motivate them and help them realize there is an end to the rainbow." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
: Pablo Sandoval is recovering so nicely from his injury that he could be back in a Giants uniform a week or two ahead of schedule. Manager Bruce Bochy says Sandoval could be back in two weeks. S.F. certainly needs his return, as Mark DeRosa is back on the DL and a tandem of Mike Fontenot at short and Miguel Tejada at third will eventually be exposed. (Comcast SportsNet Bay Area via Twitter)

KEPPINGER CLOSE
:Jeff Keppinger could be back by the end of the week after being out since mid-January due to foot surgery. The second baseman will likely steal away the bulk of playing time that has gone to Bill Hall, who has already started losing his job with Angel Sanchez getting more at-bats. Keppinger won't win the starting job outright, but he'll receive liberal playing time. (MLB.com)

BAILEY EN ROUTE
: The Athletics will get their closer, Andrew Bailey, back as soon as this week, as he will ready to make his second rehab appearance Monday night. The 2009 Rookie of the Year had a strong 2010 despite missing a chunk of time to injury. He has yet to make his 2011 debut. (San Jose Mercury News)

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Posted on: March 26, 2011 11:01 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Barmes out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Clint BarmesAstros shortstop Clint Barmes will miss anywhere from four to six weeks with a  broken left hand, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Barmes was hit by a pitch from Yankees starter Ivan Nova on Friday and had X-rays that confirmed the non-displaced fracture in the fifth metacarpal bone in his left hand.

Barmes suffered a similar injury in 2002 at Double-A.

The Astros expected Barmes to start at shortstop after acquiring him in November for Felipe Paulino. The team's top backup, Jeff Keppinger, is currently sidelined following toe surgery. The Astros have their shortstop spot open, along with two backup infielder slots. The candidates are Angel Sanchez, Anderson Hernandez, Matt Downs and Oswaldo Navarro.

Barmes was hitting .196/.308/.286 this spring in 56 at-bats.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Who could replace Chase Utley?

By Evan Brunell

ValdezThe injury to Chase Utley is certainly damaging. After all, when part of the solution includes Placido Polanco occupying the Nos. 3 or 5 spot in the lineup, you know something's gone very wrong for Philadelphia.

Already tasked with replacing Jayson Werth in the lineup, the Phillies now have to worry about Chase Utley, who is unlikely to start the season as second baseman and could be out for over a month. Surgery is also a possibility. As a result, the Phillies now have to worry about finding a second baseman to replace Utley.

Internally, the choice is clear: Wilson Valdez (pictured). The 32-year-old garnered 363 plate appearances for Philadelphia last season largely thanks to injuries to Jimmy Rollins. He hit .258/.306/.360, which is far from a surprise as he has shown no aptitude to hit. In fact, 2010 was the first time he had significant time in the majors after stints in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009 with other clubs. He does boast a solid glove and could be an adequate replacement for Utley for a few weeks.

But if Valdez reaches 300 PA again, the Phillies really will be in trouble. He's simply not a viable long-term replacement, but Philly isn't prepared to look for those solutions just yet. Instead, the club will likely go after another utility infielder to pair with Valdez in being Utley's replacement as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports. This would allow for greater flexibility upon Utley's return.

It's this flexibility and uncertainty surrounding Utley's injury that make an acquisition of a starter like Michael Young unlikely, especially given the Phillies have a very expensive ballclub that can't sustain adding three years and $48 million of Young to. The Rangers have shown no indication that they are willing to eat a large portion of the deal, either. A similar issue confronts the Phillies on going after the Mariners' Chone Figgins as well.

Related
That leaves names such as Ramon Santiago, as Knobler suggests. Santiago is in the final year of a two-year, $2.5 million deal and is a capable backup at second and short. He hit .263/.337/.325 in 367 PA and his power has declined sharply over the last two years.

Other options that could fit as a utility player include signing the face of scrappy ballplayers everywhere in David Eckstein or trading for Felipe Lopez. Lopez is currently battling for a backup job in Tampa Bay along with Elliot Johnson. Heck, the Phillies could go after Luis Castillo after the Mets release him, as is expected. Castillo may sound like an odd choice, but all indications are he can still handle the position defensively and would bring a better bat than Valdez to the plate as he can still get on base at a good clip. Helping matters is Castillo would sign for the league minimum after being released, so Philly could cut Castillo without reservations once Utley gets back.

Jeff Keppinger of the Astros was perhaps the best fit as he appears to be the odd man out in Houston, but is sidelined himself for six weeks. If he comes back healthy and Utley is still out for an undetermined time or one-to-two months, Keppinger would be a great fit. He is a tweener type -- best utilized as a great backup on a championship-caliber club but capable of starting in case of injury or on a second-division club.

One thing in Philadelphia's favor is the ability of Placido Polanco to play second base, freeing up the Phillies to go after a third baseman if needed. They'll need that flexibility, as the Padres are chasing a backup as well, MLB.com's Corey Brock reveals. The Padres are concerned about shortstop Jason Bartlett's durability.

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Posted on: December 17, 2010 3:23 pm
 

Astros sign Hall as regular 2B

Bill Hall
After a productive season in Boston, Bill Hall had plenty of teams interested in him as a utility man. But he held out for a full-time job, and the Astros obliged him.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Hall has agreed to become Houston's starting second baseman for $3 million, with a mutual option for 2012. Hall had a promising start to his career in Milwaukee before losing his way at the plate, his average dropping to .225 in 2008 and .201 in 2009, when he was traded to Seattle late in the season.

The Mariners shipped him to Boston in January, and he put up a .247/.316/.456 line in 382 plate appearances last season, hitting 18 homers and driving in 46 runs. He played every position on the field except first base and catcher -- and that includes pitching. He threw a scoreless inning in a blowout loss to the Royals on May 28. As a utility player earning $8.525 million, I guess he was pretty much obligated to do whatever the team asked.

This means Jeff Keppinger, the Astros' regular second baseman last season, is likely on the trading block. The Yankees have been reported to be interested in him as a utility player. He's arbitration-eligible after batting .288 and making $1.15 million last season.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: December 6, 2010 11:58 am
Edited on: December 6, 2010 12:36 pm
 

Astros looking to move Keppinger, Lindstrom

Keppinger Thought the Astros were done with their penny-pinching ways after dealing Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt?

Think again.

The club is looking to move arbitration-eligible players in Matt Lindstrom and Jeff Keppinger (pictured), even though the two will only make about $2 million-$3 million in arbitration apiece as AOL Fanhouse relays. Lindstrom made $1.625 million as the Astros closer although he lost the job at the end of the year to Brandon Lyon. Keppinger, who hit .288/.351/.393 in 575 plate appearances could be attractive to teams looking for a middle infielder as he is capable of playing short as well and made $1.15 million in 2010.

Owner Drayton McLane is looking to lop payroll off even more now that the team is up for sale. That means that Lindstrom and his 23 saves along with starting second baseman Keppinger could be on the way out for a club that was 59-52 after May and 40-33 following the All-Star break. That's a playoff caliber club, but manager Brad Mills will have to work some more magic if the two are indeed traded.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 18, 2010 1:48 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2010 6:31 pm
 

Astros trade for Rockies' Barmes

Clint Barmes
The Astros announced they have acquired second baseman/shortstop Clint Barmes from the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Felipe Paulino.

Houston was looking to upgrade at both positions, and Barmes will, as it stands now, share playing time with Jeff Keppinger and Tommy Manzella. Barmes, 31, put up a .235/.305/.351 line last season.

Paulino, 27, started 14 games for the Astros last season, going 1-9 with a 5.11 ERA and 4.5 walks per nine innings.

"We're excited to add Clint to our club," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "He's a plus defensive player at two positions, has gap and some home run power
and has great makeup. It's tough to give up a power arm like Felipe's, but Clint fits a need that we had to address."

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: Barmes has been told he will play shortstop by Wade and manager Brad Mills, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com -- and he couldn't be more excited.

"I looked at myself as a shortstop playing second base," Barmes said of his last couple of years in Colorado. "I'm very excited to get the opportunity to play on that side of the field."

With Barmes headed to short, his new double play partner figures to be Jeff Keppinger. That will push either Tommy Manzella or Angel Sanchez into a reserve role or off the team completely.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 19, 2010 11:25 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2010 11:33 pm
 

Keppinger to DL after all

Jeff Keppinger
Today's word of the day: "sesamoiditis."

It looked like the Astros had gotten lucky on an injury to their top hitter, but they didn't dodge the DL bullet after all.

Second baseman Jeff Keppinger was put on the disabled list after Thursday's game, three days after coming out of a game with an injury to his left big toe. An MRI came back clean, showing no fractures or structural damage, and it was hoped he would be able to return soon.

But Thursday he was diagnosed with sesamoiditis, which is an infected hamburger bun. OK, not really. According to foot.com (do you get to visit foot.com in your job? I think not) sesamoiditis is "a common ailment that affects the forefoot, typically in young people who engage in physical activity." Well, there you go.

Basically, he has an inflammation in some tiny bones within the tendons that run to the big toe. And it's going to take long enough to come back from that the Astros decided it was prudent to DL him. Infielder Anderson Hernandez was called up to take his roster spot, and Geoff Blum has been starting at second in Keppinger's place.

-- David Andriesen

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