Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chavez, Keppinger Off the Table

Go West moderately old man
Two of the options to fill in for Alex Rodriguez at third base during his recovery from hip surgery are no longer available. Eric Chavez, who spent the last two seasons with the Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays utility man Jeff Keppinger have signed elsewhere.

Chavez was a Godsend for most of the 2012 season until too much playing time took a toll on his performance.  The former All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman was able to play more than 100 games for the first time since 2007, which was also the last time he produced  as well offensively. He inked a one year, $3MM deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday pending a physical.

While Chavez was great guy to have in the clubhouse, the rigors of playing showed up in his numbers the last month of the season (five RBI in 22 games) and in the playoffs (hitless in eight at-bats). Though options are limited, Chavez is 35 and I felt it was time to let him go anyway. The Yankees need to get younger, healthy players.

Keppinger was high on the Yankees list because of his ability to play second and third base, as well as shortstop. The 32-year old has been fairly successful at several stops in the big leagues and hit a career highs last season with a .325 average and nine home runs in 115 gamesn.

He reportedly inked a three year, $12MM deal with the Chicago White Sox and could see regularly playing time if the team doesn't bring back Kevin Youkilis. Keppinger could also see playing time at second base if Gordon Beckham does not improve offensively or is dealt.

The Yankees continue talks with Youkilis and have been in contact with the agent for Baltimore Orioles free agent third baseman Mark Reynolds. Though some fans and media may feel Reynolds would be a good fit, I disagree. He's wildly inconsistent and caught attention last year merely for killing the Yankees with his bat. But the big downside is the all or nothing part of his game. The Yankees suffered with the HR/Strikeout players last year and really don't need to add that type of player again.

Reynolds' numbers were mediocre last year  despite playing in a hitter's ballpark (Camden Yards) and they were no better on the road. Like Youkilis, he does give a team the ability to play him at both corner positions.

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