This entire offseason, it has seemed like the Rays would let Jeff Keppinger leave as a free agent. But in wake of Keppinger’s recent calf injury that required surgery, Buster Olney of ESPN sent out a very interesting tweet.
Three teams that had been aggressive on Jeff Keppinger before he broke his leg were the Cubs, Diamondbacks and Rays.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 27, 2012
Why would the Rays be so interested in Keppinger after his surprise breakout season that appeared to price him out of the Rays’ budget? The answer has to be either that the Rays had an entire season to look at Keppinger and may have picked up some real breakthrough that gives him a chance to be a better player moving forward or that Keppinger liked his time in Tampa Bay enough to potentially offer the Rays some type of discount. The Rays need to find a way to fill the offensive void left by Keppinger, and who better than Keppinger himself at the right price?
A player that has been mentioned as a possible return in a James Shields trade is the Royals’ top prospect and arguably the top prospect in baseball, outfielder Wil Myers. We’ll discuss just how hard the Rays should pursue acquiring Myers in a little over an hour, but Ken Rosenthal provided an interesting insight in his a recent column. A pitcher that has been paralleled to Shields as another player the Royals could potentially acquire for Myers is the Red Sox’ Jon Lester, and Rosenthal points out that Shields has been much better than Lester the last two seasons, and despite being a little over two years old than Lester, his trade value in the Royals’ minds could very well be higher than Lester. We’ll have to see that ends up making a difference as trade talks progress.