This is one of those stories that got lost between my flu bug and the recent flurry of activity. But Buster Olney re-tweeted that the Cubs have been aggressively pursuing infielder Jeff Keppinger, despite the fact that he recently broke his fibula when he fell down the stairs.
Club evaluators were aware of Jeff Keppinger's leg injury, and don't consider it serious enough to deter them. Teams bidding: TB, AZ, CHC.
I think this is a great fit.
I had been reading that there were a lot of teams pursuing Keppinger so I didn't think the Cubs had much of a shot, but it turns out they've been one of the more aggressive teams. The others are his 2012 team, the Rays, and the Diamondbacks.
Keppinger is a utility infielder but he's a very good one, especially at the plate. He's not a great defensive player but he has improved. He does play one position at an above average level and that is 3B. Exactly the one the Cubs need him to play.
Keppinger put up a line of .325/.367/.439 last season, including 9 HRs. He's an aggressive hitter, not the kind of grind it out type the Cubs prefer (6.8% walk rate, 3.49 PPA), but he is a good contact hitter, batting .290 in his career and striking out in just 7% of his at-bats.
As for the role he would play, he would almost certainly share 3B with either Ian Stewart or Luis Valbuena. He also has the ability to play multiple positions and moonlight as a utility infielder or even a super sub type on the days when he doesn't start.
You also can't rule him out as far as winning the 3B job outright. There have been whispers that the Cubs have been trying to work out a deal with Ian Stewart where he'll be non-tendered and then re-signed to a minor league deal. Presumably he and Valbuena would then battle it out in the spring, or perhaps both make the team, with Stewart playing 3B against righties and Valbuena moving into a utility role.