Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

The Forums

Article: THANK YOU From Twins Daily!

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:13 PM
As Thanksgiving arrives and we reflect on all of the many things that we are thankful for, our team at Twins Daily has no shortage of gra...
Full topic ›

Article: Looking Back: Twins 40-Man Roster Additions

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 06:00 PM
Since last Friday when the Minnesota Twins announced they were adding seven players to their 40-man roster, there has been a lot of debat...
Full topic ›

Article: Can The Twins Have An Elite Bullpen In 2016?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:03 PM
When the Kansas City Royals won the World Series earlier this month after coming up just short in 2014, it spawned an army of articles on...
Full topic ›

MLB Rumors: A lot of interest in Plouffe

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:11 PM
Buried deep in the MLB Rumors, Twins section:November 21, 2015 at 6:39pm CST Here’s the latest from The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo…...
Full topic ›

Article: Looking Back: Age Of Twins Players During Great...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:50 PM
The 2016 Minnesota Twins roster should be comprised of a roster intended to win. After taking a big step forward in 2015, the playoffs ar...
Full topic ›
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Kubel, Doumit and Designating a DH

The more I think about the swap that the Twins have made at the designated hitter position, the more I like it. By signing Jason Kubel to a non-guaranteed, incentive-laden contract and trading away Ryan Doumit's guaranteed $3.5 million salary, they have made a sound financial decision that could pay dividends on the field.

But in doing so, they're also committing to a plan at the DH position that is shaky at best. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.
While Kubel has never been able to replicate the offensive dominance he displayed in 2009, his career year, he has generally been a decent hitter since, with numbers that closely mirror Doumit's:

Doumit (32), last four seasons: .264/.326/.429, 53 HR
Kubel (31), last four seasons: .250/.322/.435, 68 HR

Attached Image: jasonkubel.jpg Ostensibly Doumit gains an advantage because he is a switch-hitter and can serve as a backup catcher, but Kubel is younger and has shown the greater power potential. Besides, Doumit's ability to competently serve as a part-time catcher was in doubt even before this year's concussion issues further clouded matters.

Both players are coming off down seasons at the plate, but Kubel's was unequivocally much worse. Therein lies the greatest concern. He batted .216/.293/.317 in stints with the Diamondbacks and Indians, and looked especially bad late in the year. His ability to make contact has rapidly deteriorated as he's aged:

Year | K %
2009 | 18%
2010 | 20%
2011 | 21%
2012 | 26%
2013 | 32%

Kubel has proven to be a very good hitter at times, but he's an iffy gamble at this point, which is why the Twins have hedged their bets in his contract. He'll earn a guaranteed $2 million by joining the club out of spring training, and can add an additional $1 million through very reachable incentives. That means he stands to make $3 million -- virtually identical to Doumit's 2014 salary.

This substitution wasn't about saving money. It was about mitigating risk and adding some intriguing upside to the DH mix.

Clearly the Twins have given Kubel a strong indication he'll make the team -- he reportedly may have passed up a major-league deal to sign here -- but his contract is non-guaranteed for a reason. With his awful recent play and his ascending K-rates, it's difficult to have faith in a major turnaround.

So what happens then? Well, even if Kubel is on the roster, he'll be sharing time at DH with a group of questionable fielders that could include Josh Willingham, Trevor Plouffe, Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Parmelee, Chris Colabello and others. If Kubel doesn't shake out, those guys would be in line for more starts at DH, potentially improving the defense by keeping them off the field.

Of course, in that scenario, the Twins need to have backups who can not only provide a defensive upgrade but also hit enough to warrant semi-regular playing time.

Unless they're sold on the likes of Darin Mastroianni, Alex Presley, Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana as players who can hold their own in somewhat prominent roles, the Twins should be scouring for backups and utility types who can offer some offensive value.

But to even consider surrendering the money (and draft pick) that would be required to land a high-caliber bat like Kendrys Morales or Nelson Cruz would be silly. There's a sensible plan in place to start the season and if it doesn't work out players who can hit but have no defensive position are easy enough to find on the trade market or even the waiver wire.

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

More From MinnCentric