Originally Posted by DonnieDarko
(no way do you pay that much money to a bench player).
I don't know about that. Depends what kind of a bench player you are talking about. If he were a bench player, he would probably be in a super utility role where he might still start eighty or more games, especially with Dunn in the lineup. We would be better off with a slap hitter such as Keppinger at DH against lefties than Dunn who is completely worthless against them. The Sox could rest Konerko by DH'ing against lefties and have Keppinger at first.
Say somehow Morel rebounds to the point where he would be worthwhile or Lopez emerges to take over third, it would still be well worth it to pay Keppinger four million a year, as he could start forty or fifty games at DH(or first with Konerko at DH) and an equal amount in the infield. He would not be worth that kind of money only if the Sox had someone in the system who could fill the same role, which the Sox clearly do not.
It all comes down to need, and the Sox need a guy like Keppinger considering he can be inserted into the lineup based on matchups at three positions where the Sox could use his bat. The Sox have open third base, a second baseman who has his share of struggles and a DH who can't hit lefties. We just went through a season that clearly demonstrated the lack of a quality hitter off the bench to come in start during stretches as needed can hurt the team big time. If a guy can step in and produce for half the lineup, surely he is worth half of what a typical starting player would be paid.
Personally, I see him getting the bulk of playing time at third this year and then moving into a role such as I described as hopefully Lopez will be the long term answer at third.