Undone by leg and back problems this year, Jason Kubel was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, just five days prior to the roster expansion.
Kubel was finishing up a two-year, $16 million contract with Arizona. He fulfilled his part of the bargain in year one, hitting .253/.328/.506 with 30 homers and 90 RBI in 506 at-bats. However, he had slipped all of the way to .220/.288/.324 with five homers and 32 RBI in 241 at-bats this year.
Because of his physical problems, Kubel had started just two games in three weeks. He was pinch-hitting a lot, but not doing a particularly good job of it. If the Diamondbacks are willing to cover his $1 million buyout for next year, they might be able to flip him to an AL team that could use him as a part-time DH. Cleveland and Texas are a couple of obvious possibilities there.
Some good news for the Braves: no structural damage was found in Brandon Beachy’s elbow when he went to visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday.
“He confirmed what I’ve been hoping,” Beachy told Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He just thought it was inflamed, a lot of fluid in there. The ligament is intact and it’s good news.”
Beachy, who returned from Tommy John surgery at the end of July, has been shut down for 10 days anyway, casting doubt on whether he’ll rejoin the rotation next month. The Braves may choose to bring him back as a reliever. Even before the setback, he seemed iffy to make a postseason rotation that figures to include Mike Minor and Julio Teheran and two from the group of Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm, Alex Wood and Beachy.
The Mariners now have an opening for Taijuan Walker in their rotation if they want to take it.
Aaron Harang, who have up seven runs in 5 2/3 innings Sunday in a loss to the Angels, was designated for assignment Monday. It was the fourth time in his last eight starts that he had given up seven runs, and he fell to 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA for the year.
Harang’s stint in Seattle was quite the roller coaster ride. He’s one of just seven pitchers with multiple shutout this year, having blanked the Padres on May 27 and the Astros on June 11. He also had five starts in which he allowed just one run, three of them coming since the All-Star break.
Overall, Harang had a solid 87/26 K/BB ratio in 120 1/3 innings, but he had given up 21 homers even with Safeco Field helping him along. What hasn’t helped in a Seattle defense that rates among the worst in the league.
Of course, now that it’s too late for Harang, the Mariners are getting their best defensive outfielder back today in Franklin Gutierrez. He was activated from the DL to replace Harang on the roster. Brandon Maurer and Hector Noesi are a couple of possibilities to take his rotation spot. The Mariners could also give Walker, their No. 1 prospect, a look next month. The 21-year-old is 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA and a 64/27 K/BB ratio in 57 1/3 IP since moving up to Triple-A Tacoma.