January 20, 2009

Twins, Jason Kubel agree to two-year deal

After a breakout 2008 season, the Twins rewarded Kubel with a two-year contract extension.La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported today that the Twins and designated hitter Jason Kubel have agreed to a two-year deal with a club option for a 3rd year. The two-year deal buys out the last two years of Kubel's arbitration and the option would buy out his first year of arbitration. The terms of the deal haven't been announced, but I'm sure it's around $8 million with a $8 million option for 2011, which could make it a 3-year $16 million deal. The deal is not finalized yet, but it's said to be just a physical and a few signatures away from being a done deal.

Kubel, 26, had a breakout year last season compiling a hitting line of .272/.335/.471 with 20 home runs, 78 RBI and a 120 OPS+. Kubel has battled knee problems ever since he hurt his knee in the 2004 Arizona Fall League which caused him to miss the entire 2005 season and much of the 2006 season was spent between Minnesota and Triple-A Rochester. In 2006, he had a lingering sore knee problem throughout the season which caused him to miss nearly 40 games. Finally last season, Kubel remained healthy throughout the season and finally delivered.

Kubel was at one time considered a top prospect and was considered to be one of the best pure hitters to come through the system and was destined to join fellow left-handed sluggers Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer in the Twins lineup for years to come. It's better late than never, and it's great to see that Kubel will be in a Twins uniform for a few more seasons. I can't wait to see how he performs next season while continuing to have the bulk of the Designated Hitting duties.

I'm not sure what the deal is for, but the point is that the Twins have money that they can use right now to lock some of their young players up long term, and I just hope that they continue to explore contract extrensions for other players.