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The Dbacks sign Jason Kubel

Dec 19, 2011, 8:54 AM EDT

kubel getty wide Getty Images

The Twins have been trying to keep him. The Reds talked to him. But the Dbacks got him: Jason Kubel is heading to Arizona.

Tom Krasovic was the first to report Kubel signing with the Diamondbacks. The exact terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but it’s two years and an option year per Rosenthal. UPDATE: Heyman says the deal is two-years, $15 million which sort of seems right.

It could be a decent fit.  Kubel’s numbers have not been stellar over the past couple of years, especially for a DH/corner guy, but Target Field has hurt him a lot. last year he was .253/.314/.377 in Minnesota and .288/.345/.476 on the road. Chase Field will be much friendlier to him, one would assume.

Where he plays is an interesting question. Does he take time away from Paul Goldschmidt at first base in a platoon situation?  Or does he take time away from Gerardo Parra in left? Or both?  Kubel isn’t good with the glove in the outfield and Parra is, but you’d think the Dbacks would want to give Goldschmidt every opportunity to play every day.  I’m not going to counsel Kirk Gibson about how to deal with this because he’d probably yell at me and frankly he scares me a little.

UPDATE: Rosenthal says Kubel will be the everyday left fielder. Should be interesting.

  1. uyf1950 - Dec 19, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    Is it possible that the Twins can/will be any worse in 2012 then they were in 2011?

    • kopy - Dec 19, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      It’s possible, but I really doubt it. You need as many things to go wrong to get to 100 losses as you need them right to get 100 wins.

      Their opening day lineup appears just as good, if not better, than last year’s. If they have less injuries than they did last year (which is a pretty high threshold to stay under) they should win their fair share of games.

      Of course, their fair share is probably around 75.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      I think the difference will be that everyone expects them to be terrible in 2012.

  2. phillyphreak - Dec 19, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    Being that Kubel is not a (good) defender, I’m confused. Where does Parra play now?

  3. pmcenroe - Dec 19, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    I’m very suprised by this signing. A) that the Dback would even want Kubel and B) that Kubel would go to the NL. I’m assuming they probably just offered the most money and he probably wanted to try and increase his future earing potential (since this is only a 2 year deal) by playing the OF. I will say this though, I think Kubel is an under-rated fielder. I know the adv stats say otherwise (and really its a pretty small sample size) and he’s no where near as good as Parra, but if he stays healthy and hits, I think Dbacks fans will be pleasantly suprised.

    • phillyphreak - Dec 19, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      “I know the adv stats say otherwise (and really its a pretty small sample size) ”

      He has over 3000 major league innings in the OF.

      • pmcenroe - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:53 AM

        yeah over 7 seasons, which is my point. Compare him to a full-time OF with the same amount of service time and that player would have logged double that amount of innings. Look I’m not saying he’s gold glove quality (not even close) but he’s not an absolute butcher. I have no idea why they would eschew Parra for him, but he’s never gotten a full season of playing time in the OF. All I’m saying is, can we give him a full season before we burn him at the stake?

      • phillyphreak - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:18 AM

        ” over 7 seasons, which is my point.”

        Which is enough time to get an idea of how he rates as an OF……

      • phillyphreak - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:24 AM

        Hit post too soon….

        There’s probably a reason he is the DH so much too….

      • pmcenroe - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:35 AM

        how? 7 seasons is arbitrary, during that span any player could play somewhere from 0 to 10,000 defensive innings. During his career Kubel has never played even 50% of his teams total defensive innings in a seasons. We all know UZR etc, aren’t perfect measures and even so you don’t think its reasonable or worthwhile to wait for him to play one full season in the OF before coming to any concrete judgements? Have you ever actually seen him play OF or are you basing your argument 100% on fangraphs and BB ref?

      • pmcenroe - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        true but him DHing has a lot more to do with Gardy(more than anything) and the quality of the Twins other OF during his career

      • phillyphreak - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:28 PM

        I’ve seen him play. I don’t think he’s that great. UZR and TZ aren’t perfect by any means but they’re informative to some degree.

        Do you think with more innings he magically becomes better? Meaning the innings he has played were bad but the other innings would be so great that the two outcomes would offset?

        “7 seasons is arbitrary”

        But it’s 7 seasons of subpar defense no matter the metric. And it’s not like we’re talking 30 innings a season here, 50 there. We’re talking hundreds of innings a year. Games started in OF since 2006 (with innings in parenthesis): 29 (244), 81 (700.1), 42 (368.2), 53 (427.2), 95 (801.0), 57 (483.2). So roughly 1/3 of the season he started in the OF. I think over 6-7 seasons that gives us enough time to judge.

      • pmcenroe - Dec 19, 2011 at 3:16 PM

        yes with more time in the OF I do think he would play better. Like I said he’s not a stellar OFer but its pretty hard to judge his entire skill level based on 1/3 of a season increments(which is only 2 months) that is also split between 2 different positions. I don’t think its unreasonable given an entire Spring Training plus 140 games in just LF that you would see an improvement. Same way we see improvements when other players that platoon or play multiple positions get to settle in at one spot. So no I wouldn’t call that magic.

      • phillyphreak - Dec 19, 2011 at 3:45 PM

        “ts pretty hard to judge his entire skill level based on 1/3 of a season increments(which is only 2 months) that is also split between 2 different positions”

        1) Again, it’s 1/3 increments over seven seasons. That’s quite a bit of time to judge someone defensively. It’s not like he has two seasons under his belt.

        2) It is split between 2 different positions. And he’s bad at both.

  4. hansob - Dec 19, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    He needs to be platooned. .282/.342/.490 career line is pretty solid, but that’s against righties. He’s .239/.313/.365 against lefties.

    • Bryz - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:13 AM

      Don’t tell Ron Gardenhire. He always said that Kubel was improving against LHP.

      • Tim OShenko - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        To be fair, Kubel couldn’t get much worse. Gardy may have been technically correct.

  5. dluxxx - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    I expect to see Kubel have a monster year. He’s only 2 years removed from a .300/.369/.539 season and entering into his age 30 season. His last 2 years in Target field (and his injury last year) supressed his power numbers, so I’d expect to see big things (offensivly anyway) out of him. Arizona fans will be pleasently suprised with his bat even if his glove will leave a little to be desired.

    “I’ve got a fever! And the only perscription is MORE KUBEL!”

  6. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    UPDATE: Rosenthal says Kubel will be the everyday left fielder. Should be interesting.

    I don’t get the signing. You are replacing a + defensive player with someone 5 years older, who plays worse defense, and has been declining for 2 straight years vs someone who’s increased his walk rate and power while cutting down on strikeouts?

    This move makes zero sense.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      Or as Dave Cameron put it:
      A +5 expectation for Parra and a -10 for Kubel would give us a gap of 15 runs defensively between the two, or about the same as the offensive difference between them strictly based on career numbers, ignoring Parra’s strong 2011 season and how their ages should inform our future projections. Once you add in baserunning (Kubel is lousy at this too) and durability, it’s really hard to make the case that Kubel is a better player than Parra. He provides a different set of strengths, but his weaknesses more than offset what he’ll bring to the table, and swapping out Parra for Kubel is likely to be a net negative for the Diamondbacks.

  7. millej26 - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    Kubel lacks range but can read the ball well off the bat and has a pretty solid arm. I think his defense gets ripped a little more than it should. On the offensive side he can hit the crap out of the ball. He was having an All-Star season last year before injury knocked him out. I agree that DBacks fans will be pleasantly surprised to see what kind of player Kubel is.

  8. azvikefan - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    Kubel will hit lots of homers to RF at BOB. (Iknow it’s Chase field now but I will always call it BOB)
    I can’t wait to go this year. I get to see Kubel and Cuddy when the Rockies are in town.

  9. mplsjoe - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Kubel is a good player who still has a lot of upside. I’m surprised the Twins weren’t willing to go higher than 2 years/$15M. Good deal for the D-Backs. Another hole in the Twins lineup.

    • Tim OShenko - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:38 PM

      The Twins are (or at least should be) in rebuild mode. I’d be comfortable with them having a couple more losing seasons, as long as they put serious effort into stockpiling and developing young talent. It’s true Kubel has some upside, but between Willingham, Morneau, and Doumit, they already have a surplus of DH/1B/corner outfield-types (yes, I know the plan is Doumit as back-up catcher, but I foresee him being bounced around wherever they can use him).

      I liked Cuddyer & Kubel and wish them success in their new Southwest digs, but am really more excited to see how the Twins rebuild.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 19, 2011 at 2:09 PM

      Kubel is a good player who still has a lot of upside

      The guy who will be 30 years old this year, and in the last three years has seen: his walk rate decline, his K rate increase, and power decline each successive year. You think he still has a lot of upside?

  10. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    What is it with ex-Twins being overly paid lately?

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