The New York Yankees have been fairly quiet in making offseason moves this week at the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville. However, that silence could break as the Yankees are nearing a deal with former Tampa Bay Rays infielder Jeff Keppinger. The Yankees and Keppinger are close to a three-year deal worth about $12 million.
New York seems to be willing to over pay for an infield ever since the organization learned that third baseman Alex Rodriguez might miss significant time during the 2013 season due to hip surgery and the recovery after the surgery. Keppinger is highly regarded in the Yankees organization as the team almost had a deal with the Houston Astros a few years ago, but that fell through.
Keppinger missed some time with the Rays in 2012 with a toe injury but when he recovered he was able to bat .325/.367/.439 with nine home runs and 40 RBI in a limited role. However, Keppinger did break his fibula and will be out some time too but that does not seem to diminish any of the interest the team has in him.
The Yankees were not only interested in Keppinger but had expressed interest in Stephen Drew, Kevin Youkilis and Marco Scutaro. However, Drew is not willing to accept a limited role with the team as he sees himself as an everyday player. The San Francisco Giants seem to have the leg up with Scutaro and Youkilis may only want big money if he were to sign a one-year deal with the team.
The Yankees are also interested in the Miami Marlins‘ Yunel Escobar. However, a deal with Keppinger could set back a lot of interest in other free agents and available players.
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