D-backs reach deal with Kubel
PHOENIX — The D-backs have agreed to terms with free agent outfielder Jason Kubel on a two-year contract with an option, a baseball source confirmed Monday.
The move is somewhat surprising in that the D-backs had not been linked in any rumors to Kubel, nor had it seemed were they in the market for an outfielder.
Kubel, 29, hit .273 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs for the Twins in 2011. He was originally drafted by Minnesota in the 12th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft.
Kubel’s best season came in 2009 when he hit .300 with 28 homers, 103 RBIs and a career-best .907 OPS (on-base plus slugging). Over the last five seasons he has an OPS+ of over 100. OPS+ is a weighted metric that takes into account a multitude of factors and mark of 100 is considered average. Last season, Kubel’s OPS+ was 111.
Over his career, Kubel has split his time between right and left fields. With the D-backs, it would appear that he would become the starting left fielder with Gerardo Parra being shifted to a fourth outfield position or used in a trade to acquire another position of need.
Parra won a Gold Glove for his work in left last year and he hit .292 with eight homers and 46 RBIs. He can play all three outfield positions well making him an ideal backup. How many opportunities there will be, though, remains to be seen. Center fielder Chris Young played in 156 games last year while right fielder Justin Upton appeared in 159.
– Steve Gilbert