The Twins have been trying to keep him. The Reds talked to him. But the Dbacks got him: Jason Kubel is heading to Arizona.
Tom Krasovic was the first to report Kubel signing with the Diamondbacks. The exact terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but it’s two years and an option year per Rosenthal. UPDATE: Heyman says the deal is two-years, $15 million which sort of seems right.
It could be a decent fit. Kubel’s numbers have not been stellar over the past couple of years, especially for a DH/corner guy, but Target Field has hurt him a lot. last year he was .253/.314/.377 in Minnesota and .288/.345/.476 on the road. Chase Field will be much friendlier to him, one would assume.
Where he plays is an interesting question. Does he take time away from Paul Goldschmidt at first base in a platoon situation? Or does he take time away from Gerardo Parra in left? Or both? Kubel isn’t good with the glove in the outfield and Parra is, but you’d think the Dbacks would want to give Goldschmidt every opportunity to play every day. I’m not going to counsel Kirk Gibson about how to deal with this because he’d probably yell at me and frankly he scares me a little.
UPDATE: Rosenthal says Kubel will be the everyday left fielder. Should be interesting.
To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.
So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”
When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.
Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.