The Diamondbacks are weighing whether Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra is a better fit as their everyday left fielder in 2012, GM Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Snakes are also looking for help at shortstop and third base this winter, and Towers said those decisions will affect the direction that Arizona takes in left field.
"When you put a club together, it’s more of a puzzle,” Towers said. “What you do at short and third maybe changes what your need is in left. If you get more offense on the corner, then maybe there’s more of a premium for the defender in left. If you don’t get the offense and you get the defense in the infield, you have to have your power somewhere."
Piecoro projects the 2013 D'Backs outfield as Justin Upton remaining with the team and playing right field, Adam Eaton playing center, and one of Kubel or Parra in left, leaving A.J. Pollock as the fourth outfielder. The loser of the Kubel/Parra decision would become expendable along with Chris Young, who has already been rumored to be on the trading block. Young is owed $8.5MM in 2013 and his $11MM option for 2014 carries a $1.5MM buyout, and Piecoro reports that the D'Backs expect to eat some of that money in any Young trade.
Kubel signed a two-year, $15MM deal with Arizona last December and he hit 30 homers with a .253/.328/.506 batting line in 2012, though he slumped in the second half of the season, posting just a .745 OPS after the All-Star break. Parra posted a .727 OPS in 430 plate appearances last year and provided his usual excellent glovework, recording a +13.8 UZR/150 rating. It's a clear choice between hitting and defense for the Snakes, though contracts also play a role — while Kubel will earn $7.5MM next year, Parra is arb-eligible for the second time this winter and is under control through 2015 as a Super Two player.
Towers mentioned how defense was an important factor at Chase Field and that he wanted the team to be less reliant on home runs, leaving Piecoro to speculate that this could mean the D'Backs could move away from Kubel in left and Chris Johnson at third base.
In other team news, Piecoro hears that Trevor Bauer isn't likely to be traded. D'Backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick sounded critical of Bauer last week, leading to some speculation that the team had soured on the highly-touted 21-year-old. If Arizona actually did make Bauer available, the 2011 third overall pick would instantly become one of the biggest trade chips on the market this offseason.