Hahn had 'Groundhog Day' with Keppinger deal

Hahn had 'Groundhog Day' with Keppinger deal

CHICAGO -- Rarely are there do-overs in life, but Bill Murray's 1993 film "Groundhog Day" offered a scenario where a person can get multiple chances to get a day right before moving forward.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn had one of those days when the White Sox agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with free agent Jeff Keppinger on Dec. 10, 2012.

"A couple of years back, we had a hole at third base and the market was extremely thin for third basemen," Hahn said. "[Kevin] Youkilis had become a free agent. Jeff Keppinger was in that market, as were Eric Chavez and Jack Hannahan.

"There weren't a ton of good options out there at the time. We took a guy who had traditionally been used more in a utility move-around role and tried to get him into an everyday role a little later in his career. It obviously didn't work out for us."

Keppinger posted a .325 average with nine homers and 40 RBIs over 418 plate appearances the previous year with the Rays. He also played third base, second base and first base that season.

Only one of those three years with the White Sox materialized for Keppinger, who hit .253 with four homers and 40 RBIs in 117 games in 2013 before his season ended due to shoulder surgery. The White Sox designated him for assignment May 14, 2014, after reinstating him from an injury rehab assignment, and then they requested unconditional release waivers one week later.

"The best lesson to come away from it is you're ideally in a position where as you see those holes arising in the future on the horizon, that you make those acquisitions a few years in advance," Hahn said. "You target those guys a little sooner, so that you are not at the mercy of what happens to be available on the free-agent market at a given time.

"In retrospect, none of those [free-agent third-base] options turned out to be real good options based on how they performed that year. We have deals that don't always work out."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.