The Twins' Ryan Doumit trade likely is very good news for Jason Kubel
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The Twins trade that sent Ryan Doumit to the Braves for a minor league lefthander signified several things for Minnesota.
First, they're not done collecting pitching. In this case, lefty Sean Gilmartin is a minor project. The 2011 first round pick hasn't pitched particularly well in three seasons in the Braves' minor league system.
Second, Doumit no longer fit the roster in the same way he did when he was extended. The Twins signed Doumit to a 2-year, $7 million extension in 2012, primarily, it seemed, because he was a decent complement to Joe Mauer. Mauer would not catch every game, and the Twins felt they had a decent part-time player that could catch when Mauer needed a day and also could hit a little bit.
Doumit's hitting disappointed in 2013 and he missed time with a concussion, leading to speculation that he may not catch anymore. If that's true, the Twins essentially had a low on-base percentage corner outfielder/DH with diminishing power. His best defensive position might be DH.
That means he was no longer a good complementary player to Mauer, who, by the way, switched to first base.
Doumit was particularly ineffective against right-handed pitching in 2013. He hit .229/.301/.391 against righties compared to .290/.346/.407 against lefties.
Basically, the Twins had a bad defensive corner outfielder/DH type who should only face lefties. That's a bench player on most teams.
Now that Doumit is out of the equation, it frees up a spot for a player who would be best served as a platoon designated hitter and sporadic corner outfielder. His name is Jason Kubel.
The primary difference is that Kubel should only be in to face righties. But Doumit's departure means less competition for an opening day roster spot, and it might signal that the Twins expect Kubel to make the team out of spring training. Chris Parmelee may also be breathing a sigh of relief, but he has a ways to go to prove he belongs on a 25-man roster.