The biggest move the Chicago White Sox made during the off-season was signing Jeff Keppinger to a three-year, $12 million deal. It’s pretty much a given that Keppinger will be the full-time third baseman over the course of the 2013 season, but I really don’t know if that’s the best decision. Keppinger is a player who played all over the diamond last year, splitting time between second base, third base and first base. Coincidentally, second base and third base are the two positions that are the weakest heading into season, figuring Gordon Beckham continues to hit poorly and Brent Morel is still Brent Morel. Although Morel kind of stinks, I would really like to see Keppinger split time at both spots, turning things into a competition for Morel and Beckham to produce.
This has to be Beckham’s last chance to still be an everyday starter for the Chicago White Sox; defensive prowess can only carry a career so long. In Morel’s case, I still have a hard time forgetting how awesome he was in September of 2011, and maybe his back issues affected his swing more than most of us think. Like Beckham, Morel has a nice glove that carries his worth, but it can only carry it for so long.
I don’t think Keppinger is going to hit .320 again, and any White Sox fan that is expecting that type of production is going to be sorely disappointed. But the one “big” signing by the White Sox definitely gives them some roster flexibility that could ignite some competition. If I were manager, Keppinger’s games played total would look like it did in 2012 for the Tampa Bay Rays : 50+ second, 50+ at third and 30+ 1B/DH. I feel that is a win-win for all the parties involved, and will light a fire up Beckham’s and Morel’s backside to finally produce.