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Top '13 Stories: #11 - Kubel Returns, Doumit Exits

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ID:	6222In efforts to repair the damage of three straight 90-loss seasons, the Twins front office acted decisively this offseason. And, sure, maybe part of this decisively plan was to steal an idea from the Blues Brothers and get the band back together, adding a name that (at the very least) will remind fans of happier times.

Following a two year hiatus of not having a player named Jason Kubel on the roster, Terry Ryan rectified that by signing one to a minor league deal.

In his time away from the organization, Kubel had a solid 2012 with Arizona but a fall-off-the-face-of-the-earth 2013 season saw him get cut from the Diamondbacks and finished the year in Cleveland. The offensive slide stems from a lack of contact, specifically when facing fastballs, and injuries likely played a factor in that decline. The Twins are making the gamble that Kubel can rebound from the atrocity he committed last season.

While Kubelís deal comes with no guarantees that he will see time in Minnesota, the free agent told sources that he felt he had a better opportunity to play with the Twins over another team who offered a major league deal.

Because Kubel will conceivably fill the role of left-handed outfielder/designated hitter in the lineup, this marginalized Ryan Doumitís role. Doumit, who also had a solid 2012 but a far worse 2013 season, said that because of concussions and age that he was less interested in catching and wanted to spend more time in another position. The Twins now had a cheaper version of Doumit in Kubel.

With the redundancy on the roster, this allowed the Twins to pursue a trade of Doumit. The Braves, in need of a catcher/outfielder, traded their systemís fourth-best prospect, left-handed starter Sean Gilmartin. Furthermore, if projection systems are in any way reliable (they are not) Fangraphs.comís Oliver projection suggests that Kubel (.724 OPS) will slightly outperform Doumit (.710) offensively.

In theory, the swap gives Minnesota added depth at the high-end of the minor league levels, saved $500,000 in Doumitís salary for 2014 and the potential for greater output.

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