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  • The Only Prescription is Less Kubel

    "I've got a fever and the only prescription is less Kubel."

    Those words don't taste good coming out of my mouth. I consider myself a Jason Kubel fan. I've liked Kubel since he was a budding prospect in the Twins minor league system. He was supposed to be one of the left-handed power bats to join Joe Mauer in the middle of the batting order. A devastating knee injury kept those dreams from becoming reality and it's looking more like his time is over in Minnesota.

    Things haven't been very good for Kubel this season. He is batting.238/.329/.313 on the year with eight extra-base hits. Those numbers might not seem horrendous but most of his good hitting came at the beginning of the season. According to FanGraphs' version of WAR, Kubel has been the second worst left fielder in the American League this season.

    Since the calendar turned to May, Kubel has looked like a shell of his former self. He has no extra-base hits this month and his slash line has dropped to .179/.295/.179 with 27 strikeouts. That's right, his batting average and slugging percentage match and that's not a good thing. It's tough to stomach Kubel being in the line-up as a corner outfielder with little defensive value. The value Kubel provided in the past was from his offensive power. With his power gone, what value does he provide?

    Corner Outfield Crunch
    When Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham were recovering from injuries, it made sense to have someone like Kubel around for some outfield depth. Arcia is swinging a hot bat and he looks to be penciled into a corner outfield spot for the rest of the season. Willingham could be a trade candidate at the deadline so the Twins need him on the field as much as possible. There also might be more left in Willingham's tank compared to Kubel. Hopefully both Arcia and Willingham will be healthy for the rest of the year.

    Pinto Needs to Play
    Fitting Kubel into the line-up means that Josmil Pinto has been pushed to the bench. Pinto needs to be in the line-up on a more regular basis for a variety of reasons. First of all, he is one of the best offensive players on the roster and the Twins are struggling to score runs. Just because Ron Gardenhire is scared about having both catchers in the line-up on a given night doesn't mean he should shy away from using Pinto. Secondly,the team should be committed to him as the catcher of the future and that isn't going to happen with him on the bench while the team isn't scoring runs.

    Other Outfield Options
    While Chris Parmelee and Chris Colabello have gone through some struggles in the last two seasons, it would be nice for the Twins to continue to give each of them opportunities. Parmelee is barely 26-years old and he has shown the ability to produce at Triple-A. Colabello was the International League MVP a season ago and he produced some monster numbers in the first month of this year. There might be ups and downs with these two but they seem like more viable options than a depleted Kubel.

    Kubel was part of many special moments in Minnesota, but my fever is hot and it's time for the Kubel to stop ringing.
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I think that Kubel is not taking the bat off Pinto's or Willingham's hands. Arcia and Parmelee are his main competitors and I think that at this point he is behind both of them. Potentially he is behind Herrmann as well... When Fuld returns the Santana vs. Kubel debate should begin because if Fuld replaces Santana, there is only Nunez as an infielder on the bench, and the days both him and Escobar start, nobody...
    1. Beezer07's Avatar
      Beezer07 -
      Good article. I agree with everything you said except Chris Collabello. Great story, really nice guy, but he's the RH version of Kubel--hot start, nothing since then.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      I wonder if a DL trip and minor league rehabilitation assignment might help Kubel get back on track. Otherwise it is about time to say good bye. I don't say much about Kubel or Hicks because they still have decent enough on base percentage and that contributes something on offense. But Kubel has been terrible for an extended period now and doesn't seem to be able to make the adjustments necessary. I guess we could also just designate Kubel for assignment and see if he is willing to go to AAA for a while.
    1. ScrapTheNickname's Avatar
      ScrapTheNickname -
      I think Nunez should be squeezed out and Santana should stay. He's the future, and giving these young guys a feeling of camaraderie this year will help them perhaps win championships in a couple of years. Nunez is going nowhere, he's a stopgap measure all the way. And, of course, Kubel's time of designation, sadly, is coming very soon.
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      I think baseball needs an axe man like in football.

      I think Gardy would have a really tough time breaking the news to Kubel personally, but my understanding is it's the managers job to do that.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      No reason at all for Kubel or Nunez to be here or even on the 40 man roster. Pinto needs ABs. These two guys are taking them. DFA Kubel when Fuld is healthy. Keep Nunez for now as a backup in case of more injuries--until somebody in the minors earns a shot. Meanwhile DFA Matty G and bring up May.
    1. Sconnie's Avatar
      Sconnie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      I think that Kubel is not taking the bat off Pinto's or Willingham's hands. Arcia and Parmelee are his main competitors and I think that at this point he is behind both of them. Potentially he is behind Herrmann as well... When Fuld returns the Santana vs. Kubel debate should begin because if Fuld replaces Santana, there is only Nunez as an infielder on the bench, and the days both him and Escobar start, nobody...
      I think Kubel takes the most at-bats away from Pinto. Parms is going to spell Willingham in the OF, but that's far less frequent than that of Kubel DHing.

      With as often as Santana has played CF this year and the situation the position is in, I'm with TheGrin, it might be Hicks vs. Kubel with Santana primary CF and Fuld 4th OF. Barring injury, if Escobar and Nunez starts Plouffe is on the bench or DHing, in a pinch move Santana from CF to IF and put in Fuld. Personally I'd rather it be Kubel vs Hermann/Fryer.

      As little as Pinto has played lately, I'm ready to give Gardy his third catcher safety blanket. It's dumb, but I would rather Hermann or Fryer rot on the bench than Pinto.

      i think Fuld becomes activated, Hicks goes to AAA, Santana becomes primary CF with Fuld as 4th OF. DFA Kubel, bring up Fryer. Lineup could look like this.

      Dozier 2b
      Escobar SS
      Mauer 1b
      Willingham LF
      Arcia RF
      Plouffe 3b
      Pinto DH
      Suzuki C
      Santana CF

      Parmelee reserve 1b/corner OF
      Nunez reserve IF
      Fryer reserve C
      Fuld 4th OF

      it'll give Gardy a good hitting lineup, flexible bench, the safety blanket, and an ok hitting bench as well. Pinto can spell Suzuki behind the plate and if the once a decade pinch at catcher happens, a Fryer is there without losing DH. That's what's happening now, right? Pinto is rotting on the bench because Gardy is afraid to lose his DH.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      The person most responsible for taking ABs away from Pinto is Ron Gardenhire.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I want Parmelee and Pinto playing every day. Kubel is getting in the way of that and has not been good for a while. Kubel's role right now should probably be a pinch hitter, and that's assuming that a reasonable amount of rest will make him competent. This is one of many things that really annoys me about Gardy, and the main reason why I didn't want him around this year. Parms and Pinto need to be in the line up most days, with the occasional rest day.
    1. Trevor0333's Avatar
      Trevor0333 -
      Kubel & Collabello gave the lineup some really great depth to start the season when it was desperately needed. Great stories that unfortunately didn't last.

      Arcia and Willingham have come back at the perfect time, hopefully Hammer doesn't fade as these two have.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      After going 4 for 4 today Kubel now has a .377 strikeout average (57K's in 151 AB). That's a pretty dominating performance by Kubel. Not too many players can strikeout that much.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      After going 4 for 4 today Kubel now has a .377 strikeout average (57K's in 151 AB). That's a pretty dominating performance by Kubel. Not too many players can strikeout that much.
      He moved into a 2nd place tie with Mark Reynolds for 'best' strikeout rate in the league.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      I thought Kubel was done in spring training. He played surprisingly well, both at bat and in the field, early in April, but has been in free fall for a while now.

      Bremer called his BA a soft .230. When an announcer, who works for the team bails on a player, they are probably done.
    1. howeda7's Avatar
      howeda7 -
      Kubel is done. It couldn't be more painfully obvious. DFA him and get a 3rd catcher up here so Gardy will play Pinto.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by howeda7 View Post
      Kubel is done. It couldn't be more painfully obvious. DFA him and get a 3rd catcher up here so Gardy will play Pinto.
      Thanks to a late flurry of playing time, Pinto averaged one plate appearance per day over the last two weeks of May. Will be the first to admit that my fear that the Suzuki signing would empower Gardy to ignore Pinto was totally unfounded.

      And when even fans who don't believe in three catchers want a third catcher to modify the behavior of the manager, well... new manager.

      Or maybe they just need more Cowabello...
    1. Jerr's Avatar
      Jerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by usafchief View Post
      the person most responsible for taking abs away from pinto is ron gardenhire.
      bingo!!!!
    1. bear333's Avatar
      bear333 -
      I say keep whoever is contributing that means both Nunez and Santana and out with Kubel.
    1. wabene's Avatar
      wabene -
      Maybe there is something to Gardy's reliance on veterans were he does wear out these thirty something's. Kubel was going pretty good and Gardy played him a lot. He got a multi year contract play the young guys. I like Nunez's bat and would keep him around. Play the guys that are producing. A shorter leash
    1. howeda7's Avatar
      howeda7 -
      Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
      Thanks to a late flurry of playing time, Pinto averaged one plate appearance per day over the last two weeks of May. Will be the first to admit that my fear that the Suzuki signing would empower Gardy to ignore Pinto was totally unfounded.

      And when even fans who don't believe in three catchers want a third catcher to modify the behavior of the manager, well... new manager.

      Or maybe they just need more Cowabello...
      A new manager isn't happening at least for 6 weeks. Until then, having Hermann over Kubel or Collabello is of no great consequence and gets Pinto into the lineup.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Time to end the second Kubel era in the Twin Cities. Good story but Kubel has nothing left in the tank
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