"I don't mind adding Keppinger in a utility role, it seems like the price won't end up being anything significant. But a Keppinger/Blum platoon...unless these guys are amazing defensively, that is going to hurt the team. The Astros' offense seems neither great nor terrible, and finding a league average hitter for the hot corner would add a few wins."
Scott Barzilla over at Astrosdaily.com:
"It’s funny how perception works. The Astros sign Ivan Rodriguez and it’s a stroke of genius. The Astros trade a player to be named later for Jeff Keppinger and people don’t blink an eye. Keppinger has been playing off and on since 2004. He has amassed 968 plate appearances in that time as a utility infielder. He became the regular shortstop last year in Alex Gonzalez’s absence. Funny, when you compare the two in basic terms it’s hard to tell the difference.
AVG OBP SLG OPS
Keppinger .287 .338 .390 .728
Rodriguez .295 .325 .444 .769
The difference between the two is primarily in slugging, but the differences have been diminishing as Rodriguez’s power numbers are going. Irod slugged .394 last season. So again, how much are they different? This isn’t to say that this is a bad deal. In fact, there are rumors that Brandon Backe is the player to be named later. Ridding themselves of Backe is enough to make this a good deal. However, what this deal is really about is plugging a gaping hole with someone that won’t kill you. Keppinger isn’t the missing piece, but he does make third base a little more palatable."
Astros County has his take:
"I like the Keppinger trade. He's young-ish, cheap ($475,000, or thereabouts), can play a lot of different positions, and can drill lefties. Providing he's over the kneecap injury, I think he'll be a good addition if/when Chris Johnson is ready to take over full-time in 2010. I'm going to withhold complete judgment until I see who the PTBNL is..."
County and I talked VIA email over this PTBNL (player to be named later). Dusty Baker seems to think that the player is Drew Sutton. Not Cool. On one hand, Baker also thinks signing Gary Sheffield is a great idea. We all know Dusty is a little crazy, but he has been saying he wants to get younger and faster. This would be one of those opportunities. More on this later.
I would say the overall consensus here is that "The Kepp" isn't going to kill the Astros. I do agree with Tim about the platoon role, and that the move will bring in minimal wins. I definitely like the analysis from Scott. I was hoping that Backe would be the PTBNL. I really don't think it will be, but then again, I think Backe is done in Houston one way or another this season, just depends on when the Astros decide to get rid of him. Astros County is right, Kepp is relatively cheap (minus Drew Sutton) and can fill in as necessary. This Drew Sutton thing getting thrown out there really makes this move a little more to the negative to me. Drew Sutton shouldn't be given up for Kepp. Straight up. More on that later.