The 2014 season is almost one-third over and the Twins are hanging around the .500 mark give or take a few games. You could argue that the Twins are playing better than expected and that might be true but the roster still has several players that do not belong on a good major league team. Today I want to talk about just one of them, outfielder Jason Kubel.
The 32-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder has no business being on this team. I am not even going to waste your time and mine by asking why the Twins organization spent $2 million to sign this guy in the first place after he hit .216 with five home runs and 92 strikeouts in 259 at bats for the Diamondbacks and Indians in 2013. As it turned out, both corner outfielders Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia went down with hand injuries right out of the starting gate and having Kubel on the team helped to solve that dilema at least on a short term basis.
Now with Willingham and Arcia back in the line-up, why is Kubel still with this team? Pay the man the money you owe him, thank him for his service and send him on his way, you will be doing a service to both Kubel and the team.
Kubel has been dreadful this season. Kubel was signed to provide power and knock in some runs, todate he has hit one home run and plated 13 base runners. In 144 at bats he has struck out a team leading 51 times, that 35.42% of his at bats. Outside of Aaron Hicks and Willingham who has only appeared in 9 games, no one on the team has a lower slugging percentage than Kubel. Kubel’s play in the field is barely adequate.
Kubel is taking up valuable roster space on a team that is struggling to score runs. Going into the series final today again the Texas Rangers the Twins record in their last 9 games is 3 wins with 6 losses and they have scored more than 2 runs (four runs in one game and five in another) just twice. If you take those two games out of the equation the team has scored a total of 10 runs in 7 games which comes out to 1.43 runs per game. In 50 games this season the Twins have scored 3 runs or less 20 times. The Twins record stands at 24-26 but when you score 3 runs or less 40% of the time you either have to have amazing pitching or been just plain lucky, I think I will put the Twins in the lucky category.
The Twins need to find a way to score more runs. How about if the Twins either release Kubel or send him to Rochester and bring up 1B Kennys Vargas from New Britain? The 23-year-old switch hitter might be a perfect fit for the Twins DH slot. Last season Vargas hit .267 with 19 home runs and 93 RBI in Ft. Myers. This season in New Britain, Vargas is hitting ..320 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI’s. With Gardy fretting about using back-up catcher Josmil Pinto as his DH, who knows, the 6’5″ 275 pound Vargas might be the next Big Papi in the making. What have they got to lose?
UPDATE AS OF MAY 29 – Did I forget to mention that including todays game against Texas, Kubel is 0 for his last 22 plate appearances and has not had an RBI since May 1st?