Keppinger deal official; Canzler designated
UPDATE, 4:14: Keppinger, a Miami native, said the chance to return to Florida and play for a winning team were key parts of his decision, but primarily it was the opportunity to play - at a number of positions - that led to him signing with the Rays.
And though most of his time has been at second base and shortstop, and though the Giants made made a point of saying his defense at shortstop wasn't good enough, he said that he can handle whatever the Rays have in mind.
"I'm up for anything,'' Keppinger said. "I know there's a lot of talk that people tell me I'm limited at playing certain positions, but I don't feel that way. I just go out and do the best I can. ... They can put me whereever they want, it doesn't matter. Pretty much all my life I've played everywhere, including catcher.''
UPDATE, 3:16: Keppinger gets $1.525-million from the Rays, and there are some incentives in the deal, but the total value would be below $2-million. He made $2.3-million last season and was nontendered by the Giants.
UPDATE, 3:13: Russ Canzler was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Keppinger.
UPDATE, 3:06: The Rays officially announced the deal, though the terms were not disclosed.
Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said in the release: “Jeff is a good player who fits our club well. He is a tough out, especially against left-handers, and his contact skills bring a useful dimension to our roster. We also value his defensive versatility, which will allow him to make an impact in many different ways."
BREAKING: The Rays are expected to officially announce the signing of INF Jeff Keppinger this afternoon.
Keppinger, 31, agreed to a one-year deal earlier in the week and had a physical exam on Thursday.
He is a right-handed hitter who does well against left-handed pitchers and doesn't strike out much, which will increase manager Joe Maddon's options. Keppinger plays mostly second base and shortstop, but has some experience at first, third and in the outfield.
The Rays will have to drop a player off the 40-man roster to make room for Keppinger.