When the Chicago White Sox signed Jeff Keppinger to a multi-year deal to become their everyday third baseman, they couldn’t have predicted that Conor Gillaspie would turn into one of the better hitters on the team. Therefore, with Gordon Beckham hitting everything in sight on his rehab assignment in Charlotte, Keppinger needs to return to a role that he has had plenty success previously — and that is being a super utility man.
Keppinger’s 2012 season is the reason why the White Sox ponied up $12 million to sign the veteran. I mean, there isn’t a better time to hit .325 than your contract year. Although Keppinger’s batting average was very solid last year, the reason why I was thrilled that the White Sox signed him was due to his versatility.
Keppinger played 115 games last year for the Tampa Bay Rays and played 150-plus innings at three different positions. That is the type of player that the White Sox need when Beckham is back playing second base full-time. I still believe Keppinger is going to have a hot summer, figuring that it’s impossible for him to continue to hit into this many outs with the amount of balls he puts in play. But making him a platoon partner with Gillaspie seems to be the way to go — well, when/if Gillaspie stops hitting.
Lastly, it also gives Beckham some motivation to not fall into a Beckham-like slump, knowing that Keppinger is right behind him if he goes south. Keppinger can still get 3-4 starts a week in this situation, maybe even more if the Sox face a string of lefties. Nevertheless, utility man always has been and always will Keppinger’s role on any team, so it’s time for the White Sox to use him in that role.