From Marc Topkin of the newly-named Tampa Bay Times comes word that the Rays are “closing in on a major-league deal” with infielder Jeff Keppinger.
An agreement could be finalized later this week.
Keppinger batted just .277/.300/.377 with six home runs and 35 RBI across 399 plate appearances last season between the Astros and Giants, and he turns 32 years old in April. But the former fourth-round draft pick is capable of playing all over the infield and he owns an .852 career OPS vs. left-handed pitchers.
The Rays will likely throw him into their rotation of middle infielders, using him primarly against southpaws.
UPDATE, 9:43 PM: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick says it’s done. Keppinger gets a one-year major league deal.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.