Kubel with the Minnesota Twins
May 25, 1982 |
Belle Fourche, South Dakota
|August 31, 2004 for the Minnesota Twins|
(through 2014 season)
|Runs batted in||564|
Jason James Kubel (born May 25, 1982) is an American professional baseball player who is currently a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball for the Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Cleveland Indians.
Jason Kubel was born May 25, 1982 in Belle Fourche, South Dakota to Myron and Debbie Kubel. He and his family moved to Palmdale California, where he played baseball at Highland High School in Palmdale, California.
In 2004 Kubel played outfield in the Twins' minor league system, starting out with the AA New Britain Rock Cats, where Kubel batted .377 in 37 games before being promoted to the Twins' AAA affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings. His impressive play landed him a place in the 2004 All-Star Futures Game. Kubel's play impressed manager Ron Gardenhire enough to warrant a call-up to the majors for the Twins' American League Central Division championship run in September. Kubel played well over the course of 23 games, batting .300 over 67 plate appearances.
Kubel returned to action in spring training 2006, made the Twins' opening day roster, and started in right field on Opening Day. However, he got off to a slow start at the plate and was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on April 16, 2006. Kubel returned to the Twins lineup on May 23, 2006, as a replacement for the injured Shannon Stewart. He hit well in his return, including a walk-off grand slam against the Boston Red Sox in the 12th inning at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on June 13, 2006. After that, continued soreness in his knees limited his playing time and success for the rest of the 2006 season.
During the 2008 season, Kubel primarily served as the designated hitter slot due to the acquisition of left fielder Delmon Young from the Tampa Bay Rays. Kubel hit well in the clutch and provided much needed power in the middle of the Twins' lineup.
The 2009 season proved to be Kubel's most productive to date. On April 17, Kubel hit for the cycle against the Los Angeles Angels in the Metrodome. After a double in the 1st inning, single in the 3rd, triple in the 6th, and strikeout in the 7th, Kubel capped the Twins' 7-run 8th inning with an upper deck grand slam to right-center field, which would prove decisive in the Twins' 11-9 victory. Kubel finished the game 4 for 5 with 2 runs scored and 5 RBI. On June 4, Kubel hit two three-run home runs in an 11-3 win over the Cleveland Indians and hit another pair of three-run home runs to help defeat the Kansas City Royals on October 4. For his efforts, Kubel would be honored with a 24th place finish in AL MVP voting that year.
The 2010 Minnesota Twins increasingly called on Kubel to play in the field, due to a number of roster changes and injuries. Following the trade that sent center fielder Carlos Gómez to the Brewers for all-star shortstop J.J. Hardy, and the off-season acquisition of veteran slugger Jim Thome to fill the designated hitter position, Kubel found himself being used as a utility player and pinch hitter. However, due to the defensive shifting resulting from Justin Morneau's ongoing health issues, Kubel settled in as the Twins' right fielder, platooning with Michael Cuddyer. On April 12, Kubel hit the first home run in a regular-season game at Target Field, helping the Twins christen their new stadium in a 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Kubel started out the 2011 season hitting extremely well by peaking his batting average at .354 in May. This brought on speculation the Twins may try to trade Kubel to make room in an otherwise crowded team outfield. Due to injuries by fellow outfielders Delmon Young, Denard Span, and call-up Jason Repko, Kubel's position was critical to the Twins before finally getting hurt himself  and missing all of the month of June. By the trade deadline, no trades had been executed with the Twins just 6.5 games back of the division leading Detroit Tigers and team GM Bill Smith asserting, "We are contenders!"
On December 19, 2011, Kubel signed a two-year, $15 million deal with an option for a third year with the Arizona Diamondbacks. During interleague play at American League ballparks, Kubel is the designated hitter. The Diamondbacks designated Kubel for assignment on August 27, 2013.
The Indians declined their club option on Kubel's contract for the 2014 season on November 1, 2013, making Kubel a free agent.
Second stint with Twins
Kubel signed a minor league deal to return to the Twins on December 13, 2013. Kubel was designated for assignment on June 8, 2014, and released on June 16.
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- Gilbert, Steve (August 30, 2013). "D-backs strike deal sending Kubel to Indians". Indians.com. MLB.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
- "Jason Kubel returns to the Twins on minor league deal – HardballTalk". hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. December 13, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- Miller, Phil (May 17, 2010). "Short hops: Strasburg, Harper, Tonkin, Morneau, etc". Startribune.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013.