Game 132 Preview: Jeff Keppinger’s Incredible Path to the Rays

By Robbie Knopf

Sorry, this is no heartwarming story or anything along those lines as you may have been mislead to believe by the title. But I thought this is really cool. Here are Jeff Keppinger‘s career transactions.

6/5/01: Jeff Keppinger selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 4th round of the 2001 MLB Draft. Player signed August 3rd.

7/30/04: Pittsburgh Pirates trade INF Jeff Keppinger and RHP Kris Benson to the New York Mets in exchange for INF Ty Wigginton, OF Jose Bautista, and RHP Matt Peterson.

7/19/06: New York Mets trade INF Jeff Keppinger to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for INF Ruben Gotay.

1/10/07: Kansas City Royals trade INF Jeff Keppinger to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for RHP Russ Haltiwanger.

3/31/09:  Cincinnati Reds trade INF Jeff Keppinger to the Houston Astros in exchange for a player to be named. Drew Sutton sent to Reds (4/16/09) to complete trade.

7/19/11: Houston Astros trade INF Jeff Keppinger to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for RHP Henry Sosa and RHP Jason Stoffel.

12/12/11: Jeff Keppinger granted free agency.

1/27/12: Jeff Keppinger signs with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Does anyone see what’s going on here? And no, the answer is not that Kepp is well-traveled. I included all of his career transactions to throw you off the scent, but the interesting thing is that 3 of the players that Keppinger was traded for, Ty Wigginton, Jose Bautista, and Drew Sutton, all later played for the Rays. Keppinger had a way of directing the player he was exchanged for to Tampa Bay and if you want stretch the facts and exaggerate a lot, you can say that Keppinger indirectly helped the Rays win the AL pennant in 2008 by being traded for Wigginton who was traded to the Devil Rays and then traded to the Astros for Dan Wheeler, who was a big part of the Rays’ bullpen. More importantly, though, Keppinger has been a huge part of the Rays’ success this season, and hopefully he will continue that the rest of the year as the Rays enter the September stretch run.