A familiar face will be back in the fold next spring for the Minnesota Twins, as they’ve reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Jason Kubel. He spent most of the last two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Kubel was drafted by the Twins in 2000, spent his entire career prior to that in their organization and was a regular on the major league level from 2007-2011.
Kubel’s contract comes with an invitation to spring training, where he’ll attempt to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster and enter the mix for at-bats at both corner outfield spots and as a designated hitter. The Twins may have a spot for him, but Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Parmelee and Chris Colabello are also likely to be in the mix for a similar role and Kubel is coming off a dismal season with Arizona and Cleveland (.216, five home runs and 32 RBI in 97 games-290 plate appearances).
The Twins’ outfield situation looks fairly wide open, with only Josh Willingham looking like a lock for regular at-bats right now. Aaron Hicks and Alex Presley, along with the aforementioned trio of Arcia, Parmelee and Colabello, are in position to earn a roster spot with a strong showing during the spring and that may leave Kubel as the odd-man out.
Being in spring training with the Twins will theoretically give Kubel a chance to re-establish his value in a familiar environment, and he could then land elsewhere if the Twins decide he does not fit into their plan for 2014. Bringing Kubel aboard on a minor league deal is a move with no discernible downside for either side, but I think he’s a long-shot to be in a Twins’ uniform next season.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.