The Twins have Delmon Young, Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer under team control for 2011, so they could get by without Jason Kubel. But because the team can bring Kubel back for a reasonable $5.25MM option, it seems likely that he'll return to Minneapolis for another season.
Assistant GM Rob Antony expressed interest in bringing Jim Thome back next year, but as the Twins showed this summer, extra outfield depth can make a big difference. Kubel can hit, though his production has dropped off this year after a tremendous 2009 season. Target Field has been tough on many hitters including Kubel, whose .787 OPS sits 120 points lower than his 2009 mark. Still, with 18 homers, the ability to play left or right field and a solid .261/.339/.448 line, Kubel has value.
The Twins will pay the 28-year-old $350K regardless (the cost of his buyout), and $5.25MM is reasonable, especially at a time when the team's most promising outfield prospects, Ben Revere and Aaron Hicks, still need minor league seasoning. Kubel projects to be a Type A free agent, so the Twins could theoretically turn down his option, offer arbitration and obtain picks if Kubel signs elsewhere. That seems unlikely, since Kubel will be affordable and should be productive.
Could always pick up his option then try and trade him (if they do want to bring back Thome). $5.25M isn’t much as said for a guy with his bat. You could turn him into a nice asset.
Crazier thought…..move Delmon Young this winter while his value is high. Is this year showing he finally clicked? Or is it a mirage? With Hicks and Revere coming up…..they can afford to gamble. Start Kubel in LF this year and then in 2012 hand it over to one of the young guys.
I think with Kubel and Cuddyer both only under control through 2011, it makes sense to keep Delmon around. It’s not unreasonable at all to think this is a season where things clicked for him. He’s still only 24 years old.
I agree it’s tempting to move him while his value is at its highest, but then you face holes at both corner OF positions following 2011. Handing the outfield over to Revere and Hicks at the beginning of a season would be dangerous.
Cuddyer is terrible in RF as it is, and counting on him to outfield defense at the age of 33+ wouldn’t be wise. Keeping Young around (though his defense is atrocious too, sigh) at least keeps one live bat in the outfield.
There’s no telling if Hicks will be ready after 2011 either. At this point, he’s still a case of tools/projection over performance.
It’s worth noting the Twins organization doesn’t seem to think he’s at his “highest value” yet. The reports I hear have it that they think he’s capable of a whole next level – the June-July streak he went on is something he could do for 5 months of a season. Certainly that would put his value incredibly higher.
Moving Young now would be very smart. I don’t see him having as much success as he does now, and a team that values RBIs and puts less value on defense would give up a good amount to get him. Maybe the Tigers could be a fit. Then they would have Boesch, Jackson, and maybe Damon in the fold. Young would always play against lefties and DH when he doesn’t. Or maybe the don’t want Boesch playing everyday since he’s come down to earth. Either way, seems like a decent fit, and would be a great move for the Twins to sell high.
Everyone in the organization seems to think he’s finally starting to hit the form that scouts had set for him fairly universally when he was the #1 overall draft pick.
I don’t see the organization moving him – they think he’s finally starting to pay dividends, and they’ll want to reap the rewards of that.
How about not trading Delmon Young, keep Jason Kubel, and stick with that.
Easy signing. The interesting thing here is more 2012 and beyond.
Work on extending Kubel (in his prime), or Cuddyer (older but more versatile)? One of the two is likely, and they’ll slide to DH when Hicks/Revere come up (assuming either one of them prove able to stick in the bigs) in 2012.
I’m VERY interested in how the market will look for Thome this winter. Can we bring him back on the cheap, or does someone throw $5M at him for a 1-year deal?
Thome has implied that if he gets a World Series ring he won’t be back at all. Obviously, that’s a long shot, but just throwing it out there.
He’s said if he returns, he’d like to be in Minnesota, as he’s loving his first year here, and the Twins have expressed mutual interest. He’d probably have to understand that once again, he’ll get less playing time though, barring an OF or Morneau hitting the DL again.
I think Thome would take a similar deal (maybe a slight raise) to stay in Minnesota unless a contender promised him regular DH time. I don’t see him going to a marginal contender for more money when he could sign with a more concrete contender for less.
If Thome does play next year, I see the AB’s being his primary concern. He’ll be chasing down 600 (I don’t care if he says he doesn’t want 600, we both know darn well the number will creep into his mind this winter).
I don’t think he’ll go to a KC, but the difference between MN and another similar-style contender will be all about AB’s.
The fact that Gardy made good on his promise this year to get him AB’s as long as he was swinging the bat well should go a long ways towards bringing him back.
Frankly, at this point, I’d put it at a 75% shot he comes back on a similar deal to this year.
I don’t think he has to worry about ab’s to reach 600. He’s at 582 right now, and is likely to hit another 3-4 at least this year. Leaving him just 14-15 short. He’s got 18 this year in just 278 PA’s.
I think no matter where he goes (including MN) they’ll find a way for him to get in that range of PA’s at least. Especially since he’s been so great against RH’s.
Yeah but one reason he’s gotten that many PAs is because Morneau has been hurt. What happens next year if Morneau is healthy….or if the Twins decide they want to start DHing Morneau some to keep him healthy? Starts taking even more PAs away from Thome.
I do think going back to Minny would be good for Thome. And I can’t see him retiring before he hits 600. I mean, how hard is this season on him? He DHes like 3 times a week…..man, must be tough having to get out of the dugout and off your butt once every 30-40 minutes in a game to swign a bat maybe 3-4 times. lol
The Rays could make a very good case to steal Thome though. Thome could DH there and help replace Pena in the lineup protecting Longoria. Question will become how much money can they give him….cause it looks like they can give him the at-bats….
Cuddyer – Mr. Double Play, Mr. Ground Out to Short, Mr. Flail Wildly at Curveballs is the one who should go. Hey – he has had 2 good offensive seasons – out of 10…..
.800 OPS on his career. He won’t be making any all-star games, but for a guy who’s played every position but SS this season, that’s not too shabby.
And I know the sabremetricians will cringe, but he is the longest tenured Twin, and provides alot of clubhouse leadership.
Yeah but Cuddyer at first is an atrocity. Makes you realize how nice it really is to have Morneau over there. Cuddyer’s glove is just awful… wherever you put it.
Awful is an overstatement, but sure, he’s not going to win any Gold Gloves. We’re just spoiled be used to Justin or Dougie for the past decade.
I think he’s actually been pretty respectable at picking short-hops out of the dirt, even if the hard grounders tend to get bobbled now and again.
His defense has been pretty poor, and especially over the past week. I don’t know what his deal is over there right now, but it’s like his head’s not even in the game sometimes. He’s botched some pretty routine plays, and the butcher job he did on a low throw, but very easily scoopable throw from Hudson after Orlando made a nice diving stop was horrid. That should’ve been the third out of the inning and instead Texas scored two runs and the Twins lost a one-run game. Granted, Kubel and Span had a terrible outfield miscue before that.
Actually, I am thinking that a lot of his missed catches at first are due to his throws from our infielders… Sure Morneau Probably could have and would have caught every single one of those balls, but hey, Cuddy makes some great catches. He is the team leader and has the heart every manager wants on a team. Lets not forget about his Homers this year. Come on guys, Cuddy is every general managers dream! If you ask me, I think they can just keep Rever right where he is, not on the Twins field. Yeah he hit alright, but man I cringed every single time I saw him step into Denard’s spot on the field… Ouch…
Please trade him to Boston!
Cuddyer has been bad and my least favorite of the regular outfielders. Seems like Span has took a turn for the worse this year too. Excited about the future though, can’t wait to see Hicks and Revere at TF.
Not me… I am not a fan after seeing Revere play… I was soooo Excited, all I ever heard were great things about him coming up. I don’t know if it was just bad luck or Starting nerves or what, but he was very disappointing to me.