Earlier this off season, we poked fun at Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti’s free agent acquisitions because they made it seem as though he was on a mission to put together the most expensive bunch of replacement players in this history of baseball. Perhaps our mocking was misguided. Maybe this is the new way of business for teams in the National League West.
After unexpectedly coming to terms with former Minnesota Twins outfielder Jason Kubel on a two year contract worth $15 million plus an option, the Arizona Diamondbacks have now spent $37 million on Kubel, Aaron Hill, Willie Bloomquist, John McDonald, Takashi Saito, Henry Blanco, and Lyle Overbay. Those seven players combined for 3.6 fWAR last season.
The signing of Kubel becomes even more questionable with the news that he’ll play left field for the team. The Diamondbacks already have Gerrardo Parra, who was a superior option to Kubel, both in terms of bat (.340 wOBA) and glove (an actual deserving Gold Glove winning season), and he costs far less money, as well. Despite all this, MLB Trade Rumors suggests that the signing could push Parra into the fourth outfielder role or even on the trade block.
You can look at the contract given to Kubel and suggest that he only needs to put up a little less than three wins above replacement over the next two years to make it worthwhile, but not only does he block a younger player with the potential to put up better numbers, three wins above replacement over two seasons from the oft injured Kubel is far from a guarantee.
The Kubel signing represents the second time in a week in which the Minnesota Twins got the best deal on someone else’s contract, as the they receive a supplemental pick for Kubel signing elsewhere, something that in both the long and short run should suit them perfectly fine.