The Big Switch: Jason Kubel
~ Sponsored by Switch My Trip ~
Ron Gardenhire and Jason Kubel were insistent throughout spring training. Is it possible that they knew what they were talking about when they kept saying the veteran would be just fine when the regular season began? Fans and many writers wondered aloud which Jason Kubel we might see in 2014.
Kubel hit just .196/.288/.283 (.571) in spring training, and that’s only because he ended the spring schedule on a good note. Fortunately, he has been able to flip a switch with the regular season and has been one of the Twins’ top offensive performers in the early weeks.
The Twins are looking to switch things around this year. Every week, Metro Transit recognizes a Twins player who successfully switched the outcome of a game for the better.
Kubel was drafted by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2000 draft. He stayed in the organization through the 2011 season. He was a solid performer, providing power in the middle of the lineup after his return from major knee surgery following the 2004 season.
In 2012, he switched leagues, signing a two-year pact with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The first year with the Snakes, he hit .253/.327/.506 (.833) with 30 doubles and 30 home runs.
However, 2013 was a year full of injury and struggle. He played in just 97 games and hit .216/.293/.317 (.610). In August, he was traded back to the AL Central and hit .167 for Cleveland in their playoff push.
This past offseason, Kubel signed a minor league contract with the Twins despite reports that he had been offered a guaranteed, major league deal elsewhere.
After that slow start in spring training, Jason Kubel has done a nice job of switching the opinions of many fans in Twins territory with his fast start. He is hitting .328/.418/.483 (.901) with six extra base hits. He has regained his form offensively.
At the same time, his role with the Twins so far this season has switched from initial plan. He came in to be the team’s primary designated hitter who might occasionally get some time in the outfield. With injuries to Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham, he has become the Twins starting left fielder, playing every day. He has actually represented himself well with the glove to this point in the season.
There is a lot of season to go. We are not even to May on the schedule yet. However, to this point, Jason Kubel has done a terrific job. He has been able to switch the opinions of many Twins fans who felt that he was on the wrong side of 30 and in decline.
He will turn 32 years old at the end of May, but to this point of the young season, he is healthy and appears to be more like the 2012 version of Jason Kubel that we all hope to see.
Why fight traffic and parking? Say ‘Switch My Trip’ for the next Twins game. Metro Transit can provide you and your whole family a train ride to the game. Planning your trip is as easy as clicking on this link.