The Rays Tank: Jeff Keppinger Drawing Interest From New York

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Welcome back from your food coma!

While we were all enjoying the holiday weekend, not much happened in the world of Rays baseball.

For your Monday morning read, Bill Chastain recently discussed the Rays Foundation's new Take Stock in Children program, recapping the excellent work the franchise has done through charity efforts in the community.

Free Agent News:

The Yankees have renewed their interest in former Rays infielder Jeff Keppinger, surely increasing his free agent pricetag and decreasing his chance of returning to Tampa Bay. Kepp batted .325/.367/.439 with serviceable defense at 3B while covering for the injured Evan Longoria in his age 32 season. It was only his third season producing 2.0+ WAR, but his second since 2010. He would presumably assist New York in the A-Rod transition to full-time DH.

Marc Topkin speculates that the Rays could pull utility players Chone Figgins and/or Ryan Raburn off the scrap heap this off-season, fulfilling Kepp's role on the bench. Topkin also did his best to stir some Marlins trade rumors by referencing twitter:

MAKING A PITCH: LHP David Price used his always entertaining @DAVIDprice14 Twitter account to send Thanksgiving wishes to OF Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins' last untraded star, with this message: "stay in fla ... just come play for the rays please!!! We would love to have you." Stanton responded: "that means I wouldn't have to face u ... Tempting Ha!"

Also per Topkin's Sunday article, B.J. Upton is expected to choose his destination in the coming week. The Phillies, Braves, and one mystery team are reportedly interested. For what it's worth, my money is on the Giants.

In other news, Mike Napoli has payed visits to the Mariners and Red Sox this past week, with the Rangers next on his schedule. The free agent C/1B is seeking a four year deal, but on the wrong side of 30, I doubt he'll find more than three.

There is one week remaining before the Winter Meetings. Be on the look out for non-tendered players (like Keppinger) that could contribute for the Rays next year. November 30th is the deadline.

LINKS

- Andrew Friedman was recently quoted by MLBTR's Ben Nicholas-Smith in regards to pitching depth:

"The one thing that we're very wary of is waking up one day and not being able to fill out a rotation in the American League East that can have a chance to pitch 170-220 innings [per starter]."

This adds fuel to the fire that the Rays may not trade any of their starting pitchers this off-season.

- Grant Brisbee re-examines his season preview for Tampa Bay. X-Factors include Keppinger and Fernando Rodney.

- Know Thy Enemy: Fangraphs interviewed Blue Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton.

- Beyond the Box Score: How changing leagues affects strikeout rates for batters, and the argument against K/BB.

- The Hardball Times: Can double-headers produce a hangover effect?

- Football News: To cap their 125th season, Notre Dame will play the SEC champion in the BCS title game; the NY Times examines how the Bucs have rebuilt around Josh Freeman; the Jets are so bad Fireman Ed has left his post; Miami held a wet t-shirt contest; and Jay Cutler just doesn't care.

Have questions about the Rays? Send yours to the DRaysBay writing staff at draysbaymailbag@gmail.com.

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