Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kubel Down?

Word across many blogs and according to the Strib is that Jason Kubel, who is struggling out of the gate with an average of .083, will be sent down to the minors when Ruben Sierra comes up. This seems like a terrible, terrible idea. This follows the same principle the team has followed this year and in years past. And every time, it's worked out badly.

Most people are likening it to David Ortiz, David McCarty or Todd Walker. Those names don't, to me, hold the same parallels as Michael Restovich or Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer, as my counterpart Mr. Nelson will tell you, has never been quite the prospect Kubel is. Ditto for Restovich. Both of them came up with big power potential, whereas Kubel projects to be a better overall hitter and a better defender. However, that doesn't dull the other parallels; both those players were jerked back and forth between the majors and the minors in their early career. Restovich, many will say, never hit in the majors. But I don't know that such an opinion is fair. Restovich was never really given much of a chance to have success in the majors.

The question is how do we measure the effect of "jerking" these players around? Can we just say that Cuddyer hasn't been successful yet or Restovich has failed because their confidence was killed by those actions? No, but it's strong speculation. And if Kubel goes down, similar things may occur.

Of course, I have two points in which I don't think Kubel will fall the same way. For one, there is the injury excuse. Being told that he's being sent down because he is still "recovering" and needs to get his swing back, as Gardy says, may actually go to Kubel's head. Also, it's hard not to say next he comes up, he'll have a permanent spot in right field. Why? Because, on one hand, Cuddyer is practically guaranteed to hit himself out of the lineup, Sierra is a 40-year old aging slugger who doesn't exactly have "Julio Franco II" written on his chest, and Kubel, above all other things, has a better skill set.

Overall, I'm just not sure that this will result in terrible things for Kubel. However, sending him down is a bad idea for the Twins. As I've said before, these next few weeks are crucial to the Twins' season, as they take on several contenders and try to dig themselves out of an early hole. They need their best players on the roster. Neither Cuddyer nor Sierra fill anything near the best possible guys in the lineup. Kubel does and, yes, they should show patience with him the way other teams do with their young stars.

4 comments:

Kris said...

It's really tough; I'd like to see Kubel stay, but there just isn't enough room on the roster for everyone. With Ford and Cuddyer we have too many extra outfielders.

Who else would we send down instead of Kubel? Perhaps, Rodriguez, but then who do we send down when (if ever) we call up Bartlett.

A trade would really be nice to clear up the logjam of players we have at certain positions (and fill the gaping hole we have at 3B)

kris said...

It figures that Batista would have his biggest night of the season right after I made that comment above.

Nick N. said...

Sometimes it goes that way. There were more than a few instances in the Rivas era when I would loudly complain to family and friends about how putrid of a player he was on the way to a game, and then he would proceed to have a rare solid offensive night.

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