Friday, July 22, 2011

What to do with Jason Kubel


Jason Kubel is back in the lineup tonight, and I am surprised that his situation hasn't been addressed to this point by the media or fans. His arrival puts a serious crimp in the roster, simply because there are too many players at the same position.
It isn't an issue yet, not until Denard Span comes back. Can you imagine the uproar should the Twins ship Ben REvere back to Rochester? Or keep him on the bench every day? Obviously, the Jim Souhan's and Nick Nelson's of the world want nothing more than to see Delmon Young dumped on the street (despite factual evidence that proves he is a better hitter in the 2nd half, and further objective analysis that Young's fielding is well above average this season).
All right, so Kubel is in the lineup now, which means a marked decrease in defense in right field. There is no doubt that Ben Revere's arrival has coincided with an improvement to the pitching staff's ERA as more flyballs were caught. He doesn't belong in the outfield, not when Ben Revere and Denard Span are there. Further, what happens when Justin Morneau is there? Then you put Cuddyer back in the outfield (though he isn't a great fielder anymore either), or do you try to juggle those three between 2 positions? Or have a nightmare outfield of Cuddyer, Kubel and Span? You can't move one to the DH, not with Thome there. And Mauer is moving to first regularly. And Plouffe is playing first frequently as well.
Basically, in a short while, we are going to have Young, Kubel, Span, Revere, Plouffe, Morneau, Mauer, Thome, Jason Repko, and Cuddyer competing for essentially left field, right field first base and DH.
Something has to give.
I have another issue with that order, beyond the fielding. Target Field has proven to be a deathtrap for all lefties not named Jim Thome. Kubel, Span, Revere, Morneau, and Mauer are all left handed. I think the only thing to do is to alleviate the lefthanded, outfield logjam in the hopes that it will bring some pitching back to the team. Kubel is a free agent after this season and likely won't ever be as valuable as he is now. I suggest, as I have suggested for about two seasons now, we trade Kubel, not as sellers, but in some sort of lateral move.
The Pirates are in contention this season, and should be doing all they can to go for the NL Central title this year. Their offense is woeful, and could use a dose of power to help move Andrew McCutchen around the bases. Kubel is a cheap, powerful bat that would fit well into the Pirates lineup. The Blue Jays have relievers that may be tantalizing to the Twins. Not only that, but the Pirates could certainly move a prospect to the Jays (or two). Want to make this a bigger move? How about including Kevin Slowey as well, and getting a greater return?
On top of that, I think Revere is proving that he isn't ready to hit at the MLB level. I think he could find his swing with time back in Rochester when Span and Morneau come back. Undoubtedly, something has to give, and it will likely not be something that everyone is going to be happy with.

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