Jeff Keppinger Trade Brings Solid Bat, Glove to Giants

Manny RandhawaCorrespondent IIIJuly 19, 2011

PITTSBURGH - JULY 06:  Jeff Keppinger #8 of the Houston Astros hits an RBI double against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth inning during the game on July 6, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants acquired infielder Jeff Keppinger from the Houston Astros today in exchange for minor league right-handers Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel.

Keppinger is a career .284 hitter and a solid defensive shortstop, with a career .983 fielding percentage at the position. He's also a versatile defensive asset, having played every position on the field except pitcher, catcher, and center field.

So far this season Keppinger is hitting .307 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 163 at-bats.

After all of the intense speculation as to what the defending world champions would do to shore up their roster for another postseason run, including talk of possibly going after Jose Reyes or Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets, this move is very much in keeping with the Brian Sabean style: not blockbuster, but potentially impactful.

The Giants have had difficulties with the shortstop position from the get-go this season, as 37-year-old Miguel Tejada, although coming along offensively as of late, has had a rough season both at the plate and in the field.

Tejada is hitting .242 with 4 home runs and 26 RBI, and left last night's game against the Dodgers with an abdominal strain.

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 01:  Jeff Keppinger #8 of the Houston Astros catches a pop fly against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 1, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Astros defeated the Cubs 3-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Rookie Brandon Crawford, though proving to be a good defensive shortstop with excellent range, has struggled at the plate, hitting just .197 thus far.

Adding Keppinger to a lineup that is beginning to show real signs of life, as Pablo Sandoval and Nate Schierholtz are red-hot at the moment, could boost the Giants in the second half (last season Keppinger hit .288 with 34 doubles, 59 RBI, and a .351 on-base percentage).

Whether Keppinger will contribute and how much of an impact he will have remains to be seen, but going from the worst team in baseball (the Astros are currently 31-65) to the defending world champions who are leading the NL West, has to be a shot in the arm for the 31-year-old Keppinger.


Belt Called-Up

In other developments, Brandon Belt was called-up from Triple-A Fresno and will rejoin the Giants, hoping to continue his torrid hitting (he hit .335 with 7 home runs and 33 RBI in 47 minor league games between Class-A San Jose and Fresno). 

Belt will be in the lineup Tuesday night as the Giants host the Dodgers at AT&T Park.