I was thrilled when I found out that Jason Kubel was leaving the AL Central for the sunnier, drier pastures of Arizona. In December of 2011, he signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks. He was going to be a Snake for the forseeable future.
Two weeks ago, the D-Backs signed Cody Ross to a three-year, $26 million contract. There is a logjam in the outfield in Phoenix, and the White Sox are reportedly kicking the tires on bringing Kubel back to the Midwest.
I want this to happen.
The Sox simply ran out of gas at the end of 2012. Take a look at the OPS. of the Sox starters in September and October:
Paul Konerko .773 (bouncing back from a bad August)
Adam Dunn .676
A.J. Pierzynski .656 (he truly fell off the table in the last month of the season)
Alexei Ramirez .547
Gordon Beckham .792
Kevin Youkilis .649 (after posting and OPS of .800 in July and August)
Dewayne Wise .697
Alejandro De Aza .848
Alex Rios .888
Dayan Viciedo .896
The DH, shortstop, third baseman, and catcher disappeared in the final month of the season. Konerko was fighting through the buffet of aches and pains that tend to crop up towards the end of the season. The good news is that two of the four players who fell into a black hole at the end of 2012 will be playing for other teams. The bad news is that their replacements are missing some pieces.
Tyler Flowers has pop, but is not a contact hitter. Jeff Keppinger can hit the ball, but he has no pop. The Sox need a player who is made of the skills Flowers and Keppinger lack. Kubel solves both problems.
The main reason for saying "yes" to a Jason Kubel trade is a simple one. You don't say no to a guy who can hit 30 home runs and post an OPS of .800.
Where will he play? Plenty of places.
He can platoon with Viciedo in LF.
The Dayan Cannon crushes LHP, to the tune of .297/.335/.538. Kubel drills RHP, posting a triple slash line of .273/.350/.540. Put them both together, and Dayon Kubeledo is a fine looking outfielder.
He literally has a million uses.
Alex Rios' toe bothering him? Kubel
Adam Dunn spelling Konerko at 1B? Kubel can slide right into the DH slot. He would be an upgrade over Dan Johnson, who spent 14 games as DH last year.
Pinch hitter? Kubel.
Plus, Kubel apparently likes playing at US Cellular Field. His numbers in the Cell are the best in a ballpark not named the Metrodome/Target Field/Chase Field. He's hit 14 HRs and posted an OPS of .968 over the course of 133 at bats.
The White Sox payroll currently stands at $102.5 million. A Kubel deal, if the team takes on all of his salary, would put that number at a very manageable $110 million. If the Sox decide to take the money, the cost in prospects shouldn't be that steep. If the D-Backs believe they could get something in return for Kubel, while saving money and clearing a crowded outfield, the Sox could be the perfect suitor.
The Tigers are the All-Star Team of the AL Central. With Kubel, the Sox will be the All-Solid Team, and that might be good enough. Part of the Sox surprising success in 2012 was tied to the surprising success of Pierzynski. When he went south, so did the team. With the younger Kubel providing the pop in place of A.J., the Sox have the chance to be just as competitive in 2013.