Urban: Giants' Keppinger deal solid if unspectacular

July 19, 2011, 10:57 pm
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July 19, 2011

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Mychael Urban
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He's not the middle-of-the-order slugger that many Giants fans would love to see brought into the defense of the 2010 World Series title, but he's scrappy in general, solid defensively and rarely strikes out.Welcome to San Francisco, Jeff Keppinger. The world is your crab sandwich.
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Keppinger, a 31-year-old second baseman batting .307 with seven strikeouts in 163 at-bats this season, was acquired by the Giants on Tuesday afternoon for minor-league righties Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel. Not exactly a thriller of a trade, but when you factor in what the Giants need and what they gave up to get some of what they need -- versatility, someone who can hit for a decent average, and a guy who puts the ball in play -- it's an awfully nice little deal.

The right-handed hitting Keppinger, a .284 hitter over parts of seven big-league seasons with the Mets, Royals, Reds and 'Stros, also can play third base, shortstop and in the outfield. The obvious questions: What does this mean for Freddy Sanchez? Is surgery a lock now? What does it mean for Miguel Tejada andor Brandon Crawford? How much will Keppinger play and where will he bat?Those questions will be answered in time. Perhaps as early as early this evening, when Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy address the media. Perhaps even earlier, when I speak with VP of baseball operations Bobby Evans for the latest edition of "Coming Down the Pipes," a part of our "Big Urbcast: Inside the Giants" podcast series.For now, though, this looks like a win for the Giants. They got a good player who is making 2.3 million this year and will be arb-eligible next year so if Sanchez isn't ready for Opening Day 2012, Keppinger will likely be around to keep the chair warm at second base.They gave up a flamethrower in Sosa, but radar guns don't mean a ton without command, and Sosa has never been counted on as a big part of the future because of his lack of command. Stoffel? A throw-in. This isn't about the future, anyway. It's about now. And when you look at Tuesday, July 19 in a few months from now, you might very well look back on it fondly. Brandon Belt is back, too, folks, and that's as thrilling as anything.