The White Sox Middle Infield Glut Loses Some Dead Weight

keppinger

On Tuesday the White Sox announced that they’d promoted prospect Micah Johnson from Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte. Considering Johnson’s performance in Birmingham — a slash line of .329/.414/.466 with 10 stolen bases — the move certainly made sense.

But it also raised some questions.

The White Sox have a lot of middle infield options right now, and Johnson was adding to what was already a somewhat crowded situation in Charlotte, a situation that would only get worse when Jeff Keppinger was activated and the Sox likely sent Marcus Semien down to Charlotte.

But we don’t have to worry about that situation anymore.

The Sox announced Wednesday that they’d activated Jeff Keppinger from the disabled list and then immediately designated him for assignment. Which is a move that makes sense from a baseball standpoint, but still came as a bit of a surprise.

Keppinger was not good last season. After hitting .325/.367/.439 for Tampa Bay in 2012 Keppinger hit .253/.283/.317 for the Sox last season, which tends to happen when you’re a contact hitter that doesn’t draw walks and whose BABIP drops from .332 to .269, like Keppinger’s did from 2012 to 2013. All that being said, this is still the same Jeff Keppinger the Sox signed to a three-year deal worth $12 million before the 2012 season.

And there’s still two years and nearly $8.5 million left on that deal, for the Sox to just cut bait on that contract is a bit surprising. But it’s also a good sign.

The Sox are off to a good start in 2014, all things considered, but this is still a rebuild in progress. Rick Hahn has plenty of work left to do to make this team an annual contender, and the fact that Jerry Reinsdorf is willing to possibly eat this deal means he’s not interfering with Hahn’s plans.

Reinsdorf could just as easily told Hahn that he needed to figure out a way to make it work with Keppinger, but didn’t.

Maybe Jerry will allow the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer after all.

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