Jeff Keppinger’s miserable season is coming to an early end, as the White Sox announced that the veteran infielder will undergo shoulder surgery Thursday.
Signed to a three-year, $12 million deal as a free agent this offseason, Keppinger got off to a brutal start by sporting a sub-.200 batting average as late as May 20. He turned things around somewhat since then, but finishes hitting .253 with a ghastly .283 on-base percentage that includes just 20 walks in 451 trips to the plate.
And his .600 OPS is 206 points below last year’s mark and 133 points under his career total coming into 2013. Keppinger is owed $4 million next season and $4.5 million in 2015.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.