San Francisco Giants: What the Jeff Keppinger Trade Means Going Forward

Kasey ScottAnalyst IJuly 22, 2011

Panda and Kepp are the only two Giants hitting above .300 on the season.
Panda and Kepp are the only two Giants hitting above .300 on the season.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Brian Sabean stayed true to form when he went out and acquired utility man Jeff Keppinger from the Houston Astros. It was yet another small move that may have a massive impact on the defending World Champions. 

The Keppinger trade could mean the Giants will stick with what got them to where they are now, small deals at the trade deadline. 

Keppinger, 31, batted .305 this year for the Astros. He hit four home runs and drove in 20 RBI. With Pablo Sandoval being the only Giants player batting over .300, Keppinger will factor into the starting lineup right away. 

Keppinger has played the most games in his career at second base, 226. He can also play shortstop (178), third base (102), and outfield (5). He also has eight games at first base in his resume. 

It appears the Giants acquired Keppinger to step into the starting second base position, but shortstop still is a glaring need. 

Brandon Crawford has seen his average drop below the Mendoza line at .199. His fielding is top notch, but his bat is simply not getting it done. Crawford has two home runs and 17 RBI. 

Mike Fontenot has been dealing with injuries this season, and his average reflects this at .236. Fontenot has two home runs and 11 RBI. 

The player who loses the most from the Keppinger trade is Emmanuel Burriss. Burriss' role on the Giants is nearly the same as Keppinger's role on the Astros. Both players are utility players, but Burriss' average sits at .217, with no home runs and four RBI. 

The middle infield is a bit crowded at the moment, and once Miguel Tejada is ready to return from the 15-day DL there will be many questions as to who should get sent down. Tejada is batting .242, with four home runs and 26 RBI. 

Tejada's injury couldn't have come at a worse time, as he was having his best month in July with a .333 average—his first month with an average above .255.

Another roster spot will be needed once Pat Burrell returns from the 15-day DL as well. 

Sabean made the decision to get Keppinger, now he must decide what to do with him. Is he going to start at second and make shortstop a liability offensively? Or will he have Keppinger start at shortstop and have Crawford or Burriss sent down? 

I personally believe it would be most beneficial to the Giants to start Keppinger at shortstop and keep Fontenot at second base.