Tampa Bay Rays: Jeff Keppinger Signs One-Year Deal

Bill Ford@billfordwritesCorrespondent IIIJanuary 29, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Jeff Keppinger #8 of the San Francisco Giants up to bat against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park on September 14, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Tony Medina/Getty Images)
Tony Medina/Getty Images

Jeff Keppinger, a seven-year MLB veteran, signed a one-year, $1.525 million deal with the Tampa Bay rays on Friday.

Keppinger has bounced around a bit playing for the Mets, the Royals, the Reds, the Astros and the Giants. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the fourth round of the First Year Player Draft of 2001.

Playing for both the Astros and the Giants in 2011, he had a batting average of .277 in 99 games.

His career batting average is .281 with 32 home runs, 582 hits, 111 doubles, eight triples and 215 RBI with a .388 slugging percentage.

Keppinger's experience includes playing at second base, shortstop and third base. His infielder skills will be an excellent asset when he's needed as a backup.

Strong and patient at the plate, he has only struck out 142 times in 2,286 appearances at the plate. He had the lowest strikeout percentage in the major leagues in 2008 at 4.8 percent.

He has never been a home run-hitter, but he makes solid contact with the bat to get on base and drive in runs.

Infielder Russ Canzler was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay, making room for Keppinger to be signed.

Keppinger, at the age of 32, will make a good fit on the Rays. With injuries bound to occur eventually, his backup role will provide a solid bat and strong defensive skills on the field.

While he may not be a stellar Gold Glove Award recipient, he performs well in the infield.

The Rays appear to have made a good move with this acquisition. Keppinger will deliver well for Tampa Bay.

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