Late Thursday night, your Cleveland Indians acquired outfielder Jason Kubel from Arizona for a Player to be Named Later. The left-handed hitting Kubel whom you may remember from his days in Minnesota was someone whom the Indians looked at two winters ago in the free agent market. He eventually signed a two-year $16 million deal with the Diamondbacks, hitting 30 homers and driving in 90 runs in 2012. This season, however, has been one to forget.
The 31-year old has battled leg injuries all year and was designated for assignment by the D’Backs earlier in the week. In 89 games this season, he is hitting just .220/.288/.324 with five home runs and 32 RBIs. Essentially, he is taking over the Mark Reynolds spot. The Tribe now has to hope that unlike Reynolds, Jason is able to regain his form over the last month of the season. Not having to play in the outfield will help him.
He comes to Cleveland amidst a 5-33 slump (.152); all five hits are singles. Obviously this isn’t a transaction that will move the needle, but Kubel has the ability and the Indians are flat out desperate for offensive help. It hasn’t been for a lack of trying. The Balitmore Orioles have essentially blocked every single waiver bat with a claim and they have been ahead of the Indians in the waiver order. It has been reported that The O’s have claimed Seattle’s Mike Morse and Kendrys Morales and Minnesota’s Josh Willingham ahead of the Tribe. They haven’t worked out any sort of deals for any of these players as of yet and probably won’t. Unfortunately, it is all part of the game.
Kubel, however, snuck through and is now an Indian. Because he was designated for assignment, the pull-back portion of waivers didn’t exist for Kubel. Therefore had the Orioles claimed him, they would have to take him on at his current salary, plus he has a buyout after the season of $1 million. Reports are that the Diamndbacks will assume nearly all of the $2.5 million remaining as well as the buyout figure.
After being DFA’d Tuesday, Kubel spoke of his tough 2013 season.
“Just trying to stay healthy and stay in the lineup, it was a rough year for that,” Kubel said. “It’s hard to figure everything out; I just couldn’t put together why it happened. It’s tough, but it’s part of the business. I wasn’t helping my case anyways. That’s just how it is, I’ll just try to keep going.”
For his career, Jason is a .265/.330/.456 hitter in nine seasons. He has hit .248/.311/.482 with eight homers and 16 RBIs in 151 at-bats at Progressive Field.
Don’t get too excited here. This is a move that essentially tells me the Indians know they need to try anything to get this offense going. If Kubel was any great shakes, the D’Backs would still be hanging onto him. The same goes for Reynolds with the Tribe.
(Image: Glamour Shots, probably)