In terms of the American League Central, the Indians are dominating the headlines here in Nashville, with their many player pursuits. But it was the White Sox who pulled off the notable move Wednesday, locking up infielder Jeff Keppinger for three years and $12 million.
Keppinger, 32, can play all over the infield, but will play mostly third for White Sox brass, who are saying farewell to Kevin Youkilis.
He batted .325 in 2012, in 115 games. He missed some time a broken toe, then suffered a broken fibula this offseason.
Keppinger is expected to be ready for spring training.
It’s an interesting contract, really. A three-year commitment seems like a bit much; then again, so did the three years and $39 million the Red Sox handed over to outfielder Shane Victorino on Tuesday night.
There aren’t a bevy of third basemen on the market, so the few that are, well, they’re being coveted. That’s why Youkilis appears to be so popular, despite being so brittle (there’s another guy the Indians are thinking about).
Another third baseman, Eric Chavez, is heading to the Diamondbacks on a one-year, $3 million contract.
These all are troublesome developments for the Yankees, who desperately are seeking third-base help after learning Alex Rodriguez will miss at least half of next season after undergoing hip surgery. The Yankees were very high on Keppinger; you gottta believe they’ll now turn to Youkilis, a bitter rival for so many years playing with the Red Sox.
Choosing between the Indians and Yankees, though, it’s hard to imagine Youkilis picks Cleveland.
And that’d bet he latest snub for the down-on-their-luck Indians, who already have missed out on Victorino. That said, there are big-time rumblings that the Indians could be on a big-time, four-team blockbuster — no doubt with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera as their prime trade chip. Stay tuned.
One other signing of note: Outfielder Nate McLouth, the West Michigan native who revived his career with the Orioles in the second half of 2012, has decided to stick in Baltimore. Financial terms aren’t yet clear.