Let’s Take Another Look At Jason Kubel
Entering the 2011 off-season, the Arizona Diamondbacks seemed to have their starting outfield set for 2012, with Chris Young, Gerardo Parra and Justin Upton their apparent starters and A J Pollack considered their 4th outfielder. Out of no-where, in December 2011, the Diamondbacks signed former Minnesota Twins player, Jason Kubel. At $7,500,000 a season Kubel became the Diamondbacks’ highest paid player.
Fans were very surprised at the signing. Comments from the media and fans included, “Kubel could be a nice addition, but the signing does raise some questions”; “We already have 3 starting outfielders”; “He’s only had one season where he hit .300 and his health is a question mark”; “He only played in 99 games last season”: “If Kubel can return to his 2009 form, when he hit .300 with 28 homeruns, then the signing could prove a success”; “How/Where does he fit in”?
Then it was announced that Kubel was going to start in left field. Gerardo Parra, a Gold Glove winner last season, would have to take on the role of the fourth outfielder. Then more comments, “Kubel’s production is not good enough to merit moving Parra to the bench”; “This signing simply does not make sense for the makeup of this team”; “We need Parra’s defense to help our young pitching staff”, etc.
When the season started, Kubel got off to a slow start. He hit no homeruns in the Diamondbacks first 14 games. Then you could hear, “Kubel is way overpaid”; “He will be a utility player for us making the most money on our team if he plays like this”; “Parra is more valuable than Kubel right now”; “The Diamondbacks should have applied their resources elsewhere”.
OK, let’s fast forward to Saturday, July 21st, Kubel hit three home-runs in that game; putting him on pace to hit .294 with 34 home-runs for this season; and now with a league-leading 70 RBI should be able to surpass the 100 RBI mark. How things have changed!! Since June 5th, Kubel has been on “fire”. Over those 35 games he has hit .316 with 16 homers, 46 RBI and a 1.114 on-base plus slugging. (That statistic is calculated as the sum of a player’s on-base percentage and slugging average)
You could say that things are working out OK for the 4 Diamondback outfielders. Kubel started the season in left, with Parra coming in as a late-inning defensive replacement. Chris Young was in center before he got hurt, making Parra an everyday player again for a month. Remember when Young came back he began to struggle, which led to more playing time for Parra. Now Young and Parra platoon.
Also Kubel appears to love playing at Chase Field where he has 15 homeruns and has a .331 batting average.
Remember this; Kubel has not hurt the Diamondbacks on defense as some feared he would. He has thrown out 11 runners and is leading the league in outfield assists.
Kubel has added to the Diamondbacks’ outfield depth and I think most fans would agree that he is the Diamondbacks’ first half MVP, and if he continues he could be a National League MVP candidate.
So when you go to Chase Field and see a great offensive or defensive play made by him; feel free to “CHANT” KUUUUBEL. I hope to see you at the ballpark.