Tag:Jason Kubel
Posted on: November 26, 2010 5:51 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 10:50 am
 

Hot Stove League profile: Jim Thome

For the past three week, CBS Sports' MLB Facts and Rumors has been profiling both free agents and trade candidates who will help stoke the fires of the Hot Stove League. Today, we wrap up with ageless DH Jim Thome.

Hot Stove League When Jim Thome signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Minnesota last winter, it was greeted with a collective shrug. Thome had batted .249 in 2009, was traded by the White Sox late in the season for a minor leaguer in a clear salary dump, and was approaching his 40th birthday. A wire story on the signing noted that "he'll be more of a bench player than the middle-of-the-lineup-force he's been for 19 seasons."

Well, Thome exceeded everyone's expectations in 2010, likely including those of the Twins. He had a .283/.412/.627 line at the plate, with his OPS of 1.039 the highest since 2002 and his OPS+ of 178 the second-best of his career. He had 59 RBI and hit 25 homers, bringing his total to 589, eighth all-time. He was productive, healthy, and actually got better as the season wore on.

Thome's not going to sneak up on anybody next year, and he's not going to be available for $1.5 million, either. He's going to be back to make a run at 600 homers, but where?

STATS

2010: .283/.412/.627, 59 RBI, 25 HR in 340 PA.

Career: .278/.404/.559, 1,624 RBI, 589 HR (eighth all-time).

Jim Thome WHAT IT WILL TAKE

Thome should command something in the neighborhood of $5 million for one year, probably with an incentive tied to plate appearances. Since he's made almost $140 million in his career and could be playing his final season, you would think he'd be looking beyond money. He'll want to be somewhere he can play, and he'll want a chance at the World Series ring that has eluded him for two decades.

WHERE HE COULD GO

Thome spoke glowingly of his experience in Minnesota, where the former Twin killer enjoyed huge popularity, and Twins GM Bill Smith is on record as wanting Thome to return. One potential sticking point could be playing time.

The reason Thome played so much in 2010 is because Jason Kubel, who was supposed to be the regular DH, was called upon to play in right field after right fielder Michael Cuddyer had to take over at first due to Justin Morneau's season-ending concussion. The Twins have picked up Kubel's option for 2011, and Thome's return would give them two left-handed designated hitters. Thome, who kills right-handed pitching, could end up in a platoon situation, but not with another left-handed hitter.

So who else could use him? The Red Sox picked up the option on David Ortiz, so there went one good option. The Tigers seemed like a decent fit, but now say newly signed Victor Martinez will DH most of the time. The White Sox have been trying to upgrade at DH, and the Angels and Rays also could use a better option there. There are some losing teams in the market for a DH (Mariners, Orioles), but it seems likely Thome will prefer a contender.

PREDICTION

The Twins are able to promise Thome enough playing time to entice him back for one more run at a title.

OTHER PROFILES
J. Bartlett | H. Bell | A. Beltre | C. Crawford | A. Dunn | P. Fielder | P. Konerko | C. Lee | V. Martinez (SIGNED) | D. Uggla (TRADED) | R. Soriano | J. Upton | J. Werth

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 29, 2010 10:58 am
 

Twins bring back Kubel, cut Punto loose

Kubel The Twins have picked up DH Jason Kubel's option for 2011 but will allow Nick Punto to hit free agency as Kelly Thesier of MLB.com reports.

Kubel (pictured) is the Twins' primary DH but was pressed back into outfield duty in 2010 once Justin Morneau went down with a season-ending concussion, forcing Michael Cuddyer to man first base. The 28-year-old struggled through the worst season of his full-time starting career, which spans four years. He hit .249/.323/.427 with 21 home runs a year after cranking 28 and hitting .300/.369/.539.

Even with the down year, picking up the option was a no-brainer. While the Twins will have to juggle an outfield of Delmon Young, Denard Span, Cuddyer and factor in Kubel along with Jim Thome (likely to return to DH again), Kubel's power is important to the team.

Meanwhile, Punto's $5 million option looked ridiculous in the face of a .238/.313/.302 line, as Punto's role the last few years has thankfully shifted from a starter to a backup, where his true value lies. Punto is a gifted fielder, but offers nothing with the bat, and $5 million is way too much to pay. Over two years is a distinct possibility, and Punto figures to return to town even with the option being declined.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 20, 2010 9:46 am
 

Twins' health an issue for postseason

Joe Mauer The Twins may have the American League Central wrapped up, but will they have enough to get past the first round?

The Twins are limping into the playoffs and that now includes their most important player, Joe Mauer.

Mauer left Sunday's game when he felt something in his left knee while running to first base in the sixth inning. It's the same knee he had surgery on in 2004.

The team has called it a "jammed knee."

"[The doctor] said to give it a couple days," Mauer told the Star Tribune 's La Velle E. Neal III . "That's what we are doing."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn't too concerned.

"Doctors checked him out and said it's one of these day-to-day things," Gardenhire said. "Not a big deal, at least that's what they're telling me today. There's no fluid in there, just maybe a little inflammation. So we'll see how we go day to day with him."

The Twins have been without former MVP Justin Morneau due to a concussion suffered on July 7. The Twins still don't know when he'll return, general manager Bill Smith told CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller .

The team is also dealing with Denard Span's right shoulder and Jason Kubel's left wrist -- both players have been playing with those injuries, but they may have to determine whether home-field advantage is worth the health of players they'll need to use that advantage.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 1, 2010 1:48 am
 

Injuries loom over Twins victory

Jason Kubel
The Twins got an important, come-from-behind victory over Detroit on Tuesday night, but injury concerns kept them from celebrating it too much.

Outfielder Jason Kubel was hit on the left wrist with a fastball in the seventh. X-rays didn't show anything broken, but it sounds like it's something that will cost him at least a few days.

Brian Fuentes, the reliever acquired from the Angels just three days earlier, was unable to enter the game after his lower back froze up while he was warming in the bullpen. He's had trouble with the back in the past, but doesn't think this tweak is going to be a long-term setback.

Second baseman Orlando Hudson has been struggling with a foot injury for a few days, and manager Ron Gardenhire sent him for another examination after watching him hobble around during Tuesday's game. Hudson made an error that allowed an unearned run.

"I think we all saw that he wasn’t moving very well," Gardenhire said. "He says he’s fine, but that’s not fine. That’s not good enough for me."

The Twins are already playing without All-Star Justin Morneau, who is out indefinitely with a concussion, and have starter Kevin Slowey and infielder Nick Punto on the disabled list as well.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 23, 2010 9:57 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:53 am
 

Rangers' no-hitter broken up in 9th

Rich Harden The Rangers' Rich Harden has a no-hitter through six innings against the Twins.

Harden has walked four and stuck out five.

However, it's taken him 94 pitches to get through six and Ron Washington had a reliever up and warming in the bullpen after a leadoff walk in the sixth. A double play and a long fly later, the Harden went back to the dugout, nine outs away from the season's sixth no-hitter.

This is Harden's first start off the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.

The Rangers lead 3-0.

UPDATE: After Joe Mauer flied out and Jason Kubel struck out, Harden walked Michael Cuddyer on four pitches. He threw 111 pitches and Ron Washington came out to talk to Harden before replacing him with lefty Matt Harrison to face Jim Thome. Harden had only thrown more than 111 pitches once this season.

UPDATE: Thome lined out to end the seventh. The last combined no-hitter in the big leagues was June 11, 2003, when Roy Oswalt left after one inning with an injury and was followed by Peter Munro (2 2/3 innings), Kirk Saarloos (1 1/3 innings), Brad Lidge (2 innings), Octavio Dotel (1 inning) and Billy Wagner (1 inning).

UPDATE: Darren O'Day retired three consecutive outs to set up Neftali Feliz to finish off the no-hitter.

UPDATE: Feliz is in. Denard Span pops up for the first out. Orlando Hudson walks. Joe Mauer singles up the middle on an 0-2 count to break up the no-hitter. Well played, Mauer.

UPDATE: The Rangers finish out the one-hitter and win, 4-0.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .




Posted on: August 5, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Maddon: 'This is why we need real baseball field'

Joe Maddon
Can you imagine how this one will haunt the Rays if they miss the playoffs by a game? They score six times, including a Jason Bartlett grand slam, to tie the game against the Twins on Thursday, only to lose when a ninth-inning popup by Jason Kubel hits the upper catwalk at Tropicana Field and drops for the go-ahead hit.

 It was only the second time a ball had hit the highest "A" ring on the ceiling in a game.

The heartbreaker was bad for the Rays but might be good for the argument to build a new ballpark. Manager Joe Maddon certainly thinks so, according to his postgame comments:

"That was probably the perfect commercial advertisement, reason to have a new ballpark. There's no better reason than that. I know it works both ways, but to lose a game in a pennant situation like that because of the roof totally indicates why there's a crying need for a new ballpark in this area, regardless of where they put it. It just needs to be a real baseball field, where if you were to lose the pennant by one game and look back on a game like that becasue the roof got in the way, you’d be very upset. There's no better reason than that.''
-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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