Twins Sign Jason Kubel

TUESDAY: Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Kubel will earn $2MM if he makes the roster out of Spring Training and can earn another $1MM via incentives. Kubel will earn $150K for reaching 300 and 350 plate appearances, plus $200K for reaching 400 PAs. He also will receive $150K for spending 30 and 60 days on the Major League roster and another $200K if he reaches 90 days.

FRIDAY: The Twins announced today that Jason Kubel is once again a part of their organization. Minnesota has signed the 31-year-old to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Kubel, a client of the Wasserman Media Group's Joel Wolfe, originally left the Twins following the 2011 season in favor of a two-year, $16MM contract with the Diamondbacks. The lefty swinger had a big first year moving from the spacious Target Field in Minneapolis to Phoenix's Chase Field, slashing .253/.327/.506 with a career-high 30 home runs. However, a great deal of Kubel's damage came in the first half of that season. Though he belted 15 second-half homers, he batted just .201/.275/.470 in the season's second half.

Things didn't get better for Kubel in 2013, as he slumped to a career-worst .216/.293/.317 batting line and found himself designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks. The Indians picked him up via trade, but Kubel collected just three hits in 18 at-bats for Cleveland (he did walk five times as well).

The Twins selected Kubel in the 12th round of the 2000 draft, and he reached elite prospect status in the middle portion of last decade, ranking 17th in the game, per Baseball America. A devastating knee injury delayed his arrival as a big league regular and likely depleted some of his speed and range. He's always graded out as a sub-par defender in the outfield, but his best overall season at the plate came for the 2009 Twins. Kubel hit .300/.369/.539 with 28 homers that season.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the agreement (on Twitter). Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweeted that it was a minor league contract.


57 Responses to Twins Sign Jason Kubel Leave a Reply

  1. I don’t see any problem with this signing if it’s for as little as Kubel is worth. If and perhaps when he’s terrible they can just release him. It’s not like the market is currently filled with cheap power guys.

    • ColoredPaper 2 years ago

      That first step is definitely gone now that Seattle’s signed Hart and traded for LoMo… Although with what’s coming out of Seattle lately, Jack-Z doing that wouldn’t surprise me.

      • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

        Totally agree. The Twins should package Nolasco or Worley & Willingham to the Mariners for Paxton or Ramirez, Anthony Fernandez, Smoak, Montero, and John Hicks as the Mariners are in desperate need of a veteran starting pitching help and outfield/DH that Hart & Willingham can split.

        • Harley Schultz 2 years ago

          if they wanted Nolasco they should’ve signed him. The Twins arent trading him they signed him because its a team need.

        • Jeffy25 2 years ago

          Not sure if serious, but you can’t trade a guy once you sign him

          • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

            Yup, but also meant Worley after coming to the Twins last year as he may have trade value.

          • Anthony 2 years ago

            When else would you trade him? Before you sign him? It would be unusual to say the least but I’m sure it’s legal, as long as he doesn’t have a no-trade clause built in.

          • Nathan Franklin 2 years ago

            Not sure if trolling Anthony but he’s saying you can’t sign a free agent and immediately trade him. Can’t trade newly signed FA until after June 15 i’m pretty sure.

          • Anthony 2 years ago

            I did not know that. Thanks.

            (What makes you think I would be “trolling?” Explain if you will.)

          • Nathan Franklin 2 years ago

            I was pretty sure you weren’t, but the first sentence of your post made it a possibility.

  2. John Kreese 2 years ago

    It’s a decent low risk, medium reward signing.

    • bucsws2014 2 years ago

      If Kubel manages to stick and produce, then Casey McGehee has a future in MLB!

  3. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

    Minor league deals can’t hurt, good signing for a team desperate for power.

  4. popular_mechanics_for_pitchers 2 years ago

    I’m surprised he didn’t sign with Col, he could reunite with Cuddyer and Morneau

    • Andy Todd 2 years ago

      That would have been so cool! I always love it though when players resign with the teams they started with. Funny how it seems like so many Twins are joining the Rockies though

  5. JimnJan 2 years ago

    He had a pretty good 2012 with Arizona. Here’s hoping 2013 was just an off year. This could potentially work out really well for the Twins.

  6. sackseph 2 years ago

    Bud Selig should remove slumps from baseball. It’s hurting the game

  7. Brett Byer 2 years ago

    Anything to keep Doumit out of the OF.

    • Darin Clouse 2 years ago

      find any team to Doumit for a bag of balls he refuses to catch anymore so he is worthless to play outfield and not good enough hitter to be a full time DH

      • twins33 2 years ago

        If your only source is Howard Sinker for the “refuses to catch part” then I’ve heard that’s not accurate. He’s still in the mix for catcher and hasn’t said those words. Other reporters have asked the Twins.

      • alexamato 2 years ago

        he doesn’t refuse to catch. the twins like his bat in the OF

        • alexamato 2 years ago

          he has refuted these rumours many times. He has said he’d learn any position to help the team. I like Doumit and I think he’s a solid player

  8. Ben Weihrauch 2 years ago

    This could be a precursor to a Willingham trade.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

      After all the FA signing the Twins have made this offseason I don’t see them trading any MLB starters from their lineup.

      • Even if it’s a three-step process to get Matt Kemp? Upgrade the defense and offense at the same time.

        • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

          The first step in that process would be acquiring Kemp and I don’t see the Twins as fit. Kemp has a lot of money left on his deal, too much for Minnesota probably. Also the Dodgers will most likely hold on to Kemp and let him rebuild his value before trading him.

          • The first step was replacing a DH then, IMO, is trading Willingham to Seattle. They get the DH guy they need and maybe return a mid-level prospect. Then, using that prospect and maybe 1 or 2 from the Twins for Kemp — who the Dodgers have said they’d include ~$30MM in the right deal. He’s irked someone in upper management and for whatever reason they’re already setting his name out there.

            The only other reason I can see is they want to follow the Justin Upton path. Get people to bite and then call them back every night he hits an xBH.

          • haplito 2 years ago

            This strategy would work really well in MLB The Show 2014

          • Andy Todd 2 years ago

            The Twins could do something quite silly, like trade Sano, Meyer, and Pinto or something. I’m sure a lot of prospects would shift the Dodger’s interest

          • Sam 2 years ago

            Sano will not be traded. His power upside alone makes him untouchable!

          • K.K. Kilmister 2 years ago

            Kemp wishes he had Sano’s power.

          • Andy Todd 2 years ago

            Yeah, I know. I figured the odds of him getting traded are probably about as much as Kemp joining the Twins anyway. lol.

            I’m from Connecticut, and this past minor league season I saw quite a bit of the Twins prospects in action in AA New Britain. In that regard, I consider myself a bit of a Twins fan also.

          • cman 2 years ago

            Sano, Meyer and Pinto are not going anywhere. Ryan would have to be blown out of the water in order to consider such a move.

      • Ben Weihrauch 2 years ago

        Willingham does profile well as a pure RH pull hitter in Target Field, but he’s coming off injury and in the last year of his deal. If TR could shed that $7M commitment to use in signing Tanaka/Garza it would be a smart idea. Twins also have young talent to fill the OF (Hicks, Arcia, eventually Buxton). Kubel, along with Mastro/Parmalee/Doumit/Presley as placeholders makes sense.

        • haplito 2 years ago

          It’s Willingham’s walk year, and I’m hoping he’ll play like and the Twins can flip him to a contender. Should’ve done that in the first year of his contract, when it was obvious to anybody with two brain cells to rub together that the club was four years from being competitive.

          • twins33 2 years ago

            I think the problem is that the rumored return for Willingham was “at best a number four starter.” It’s not like Willingham added a ton of value on top of the value he already had before he signed with the Twins.

            .246/.332/.477 29 hr’s with oakland. Only the Twins, Indians, Rockies and Mariners wanted him in the offseason.
            .260/.366/.524 35 hr’s with the Twins (1st year).

            An improvement obviously, but most teams see him as a DH who can sometimes play LF. That’s not very valuable at all so a fourth starter as a return is probably a good bet, but again that was “at best” the return could have been less.

            And that just doesn’t do anything for me and likely didn’t do anything for the Twins. If he had age on his side then maybe he could bring back slightly less than what Trumbo did, but age isn’t on his side.

          • haplito 2 years ago

            Obviously we’re just talking about that one year, but his value jumped tremendously. He went from an OPS of .809 (pretty good) to .890 (great). He had a .913 OPS at the All-Star Break—a lot of teams will find room for a guy with a .913 OPS, defense be damned.

            And, the Twins need #4 starters? A #4’s going to be our #2 this season?

          • twins33 2 years ago

            I’m guessing other teams didn’t see it that way, as like I said, rumors from other front offices were that he’s worth a 4th starter at best. Meaning his value was not very good at all. If his value jumped tremendously then his value was in the toilet as a FA.

            Yes, the Twins need a 4th starter…but say a Kevin Correia type for Willingham just doesn’t do anything for me at all. I’d rather have an OF who was playing awesome. Yes, his value took a hit to untradeable, but hopefully he hits well in the first half and someone wants him at this deadline.

            The Twins don’t have a money issue, so him being on the roster right now isn’t a problem. If his value doesn’t go up then oh well, they missed the boat on a 4th starter. Nothing to really cry about.

          • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

            Speaking of #4 starting pitcher, Tyler Pike or Anthony Fernandez in couple years might be the answer for the Twins as part of the Josh Willingham & Vance Worley. Hopefully, Terry Ryan & Jack Z will get on the phone to discuss the deal between the two teams.

          • haplito 2 years ago

            Are you trying to manufacture your own MLB Trade Rumors?

          • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

            No, but updated the post on just Worley.

          • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

            Willingham & Cano w/ Felix Hernandez, Bloomquist, and Iwakuma can build a contender for the Seattle Mariners including Vance Worley or Ricky Nolasco to make themselves and GM Jack Z proud. 2014 season should help Seattle to be similar to the 2013 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates/2012 Oakland Athletics.

          • GrilledCheese39 2 years ago

            They are nothing like the Pirates or A’s they don’t spend a lot

        • ea19 2 years ago

          Why would they want to dump him now when his value is at its lowest?? If he is healthy, he will hit for power again and will be a wanted man before the trade deadline. They will see a bigger return in july!!

        • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

          Add Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, and more to join those placeholders. Mauer can help Montero on alternate use to building strength & power instead relying on PED that caused a 50 game suspension.

    • twins33 2 years ago

      Don’t think he has any value right now. That should happen at the deadline though, along with Doumit.

    • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

      Seattle Mariners can use Willingham by packaging w/ Worley for Tyler Pike & Carson Smith, Smoak, Montero, and catcher Hicks in case either of the two current catchers don’t pan out.

    • 0vercast 2 years ago

      Have you ever seen Kubel play the outfield? No way they’d pencil him in to be an everyday corner OF.

  9. Sam 2 years ago

    Excellent Kubel was always a fan favorite in Minny because he hit well in the clutch. I’m glad he’s back home.

  10. twins33 2 years ago

    No risk deal. Sounds great to me. Surprised he wanted to come back since he didn’t like the ballpark for power, but I like this deal.

  11. alexamato 2 years ago

    This is gonna be a solid move for the Twins.

  12. 0vercast 2 years ago

    Great signing for the Twins; I love it. He can split time at DH with Doumit, while Doumit splits time with Pinto at catcher. All three will get a solid amount of playing time, but hopefully not so much that Kubel’s knees and legs will start barking at him.

  13. 0vercast 2 years ago

    Great signing for the Twins; I love it. He can split time at DH with Doumit, while Doumit splits time with Pinto at catcher. All three will get a solid amount of playing time, but hopefully not so much that Kubel’s knees and legs will start barking at him.

  14. Joe Orsatti 2 years ago

    He’s been great before. It’s just a matter of Can he get back into that form. I think what he needs to work on is his patience at the plate

  15. sourbob 2 years ago

    I think there’s a 10-15% chance that Kubel is within a half WAR of Trumbo next year. Not likely, but still a thing that could happen and wouldn’t be that amazing to see.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

      So there a 10-15% chance he produces 1.5 WAR….

    • Anthony 2 years ago

      I don’t know why but for some reason now I’m ready for the 2014 season to begin. Do I have to wait? (I remember when I was a kid how interminable the sixth month off season was.)

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