White Sox finalize deal with Keppinger

Updated: December 10, 2012

The Chicago White Sox officially signed infielder Jeff Keppinger to a three-year contract on Monday, presumably ending the team’s search for a new third baseman for the upcoming season.

According to MLB.com, the pact is worth a total of $12 million. Multiple outlets had previously reported the agreement during last week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville.

Keppinger is coming off a career year with the Tampa Bay Rays in which he batted .325 with a personal-best nine homers along with 40 RBI over 115 games. The versatile veteran also started over 20 times at three positions (third base, second base and first base) for the Rays.

The 32-year-old is slated to replace current free agent Kevin Youkilis as Chicago’s primary third baseman.

“Jeff adds a valuable and different type of offensive player to our lineup,” said White Sox vice president/general manager Rick Hahn. “Combined with his ability to play quality defense at multiple positions as well as his overall approach to the game, we are thrilled to add him to our mix.”

Keppinger is a .288 hitter with 41 homers over an eight-year major league career spent with six different teams. He broke into the big leagues with the New York Mets in 2004 and has also played for Kansas City, Cincinnati, Houston and San Francisco in addition to Tampa Bay.

The Georgia native, who is expected to be ready for spring training despite breaking his right leg in a home accident last month, had drawn considerable interest at the Winter Meetings, with the New York Yankees, Oakland, the Chicago Cubs and Arizona all reported to have shown interest.