Twins should have cut Kubel loose
January, 28, 2009
Jason Kubel's a pretty good hitter, and at 26 he's still got a bit of room for improvement. So locking him up for the next two or three years must be a good thing, right? Not if you ask Dave Cameron
The Twins avoided arbitration with Jason Kubel yesterday, signing him to a two-year contract that the Star-Tribune claims is for about $7 million and contains a team option for 2011 that is worth $5 million. So, the deal is either 2/7 or 3/12 for Kubel's final two years of arbitration or his two arb years and his first year of free agency. Most people will probably consider that a good deal for the Twins -- getting a useful bat under team control for reasonable prices without a long term commitment.
I'm not so sure. As R.J. noted this morning, the Pirates just signed Eric Hinske to a one-year deal worth between $1 [million] and $2 million. In what world is Jason Kubel a significnatly better player than Eric Hinske?
Yes, Hinske's five years older, but MLB is full of players with that skillset. Minnesota could have just used Hinske this year, then found his clone next winter, and so on and so forth. Same reward with none of the associated risk that goes with multiyear contracts.
I know, I know, it's only $7 million over two years. But it's a needless use of resources. The Twins' budget isn't that of the Yankees or Red Sox, so to contend, they need to maximize the return on all the dollars they spend. Especially in this economic climate, where good players can't find contract offers, giving a multiyear deal to Jason Kubel doesn't maximize the return.