Kubel designated for assignment by D-backs
PHOENIX -- Relegated to a pinch-hitting role less than a year after posting a 30-home run season, Jason Kubel's gradual descent from lineup mainstay to expendable asset came to an end Tuesday as the D-backs designated the veteran outfielder for assignment.
Arizona needed to make room on its roster for Tuesday's pitcher, David Holmberg, and the club decided it was time to part ways with Kubel, who had started just twice since Aug. 3.
"It's a hard thing to do; he has had a great career up to this point," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "It didn't work out the way we wanted to; he struggled this year, and his playing time was drying up. We went in a different direction here, and it's only fair for him to try to catch on with somebody and get an opportunity to help someone else."
Kubel is now in a 10-day waiting period, during which he is likely to be traded or released by the D-backs. Other teams will first have an opportunity to claim him off waivers, and then the two clubs would have to work out a deal. In order for Kubel to be eligible for a postseason roster, however, the trade would have to occur before Aug. 31 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
The 31-year-old is in the final year of a two-year, $16 million deal and is making $7.5 million in 2013. His contract also calls for a $1 million buyout of his mutual option for 2014.
"I'm confident I can still play, but we'll see if I get a chance," Kubel said. "Hopefully I can play some meaningful games for somebody else."
Kubel, who signed as a free agent with the D-backs after the 2011 season, had a productive first year in the desert in 2012, hitting .253 with 30 doubles, 30 homers and 90 RBIs in 141 games.
This season, however, has been a completely different story. Hobbled all year with knee, back and leg issues, Kubel never really found a rhythm at the plate, and his production suffered. In 241 at-bats, he posted a .220 batting average and a .612 on-base plus slugging, both of which are career lows.
"He has worked hard, he tried to figure it out, but it's a very tough situation when you work and you work, then you try to take it up there and you have limited at-bats," Gibson said. "It's basically he tries something in a pinch-hit at-bat, and if it doesn't work, it grinds on you."
Kubel, standing at his locker in the D-backs' clubhouse for the last time after hugging his teammates goodbye, acknowledged that 2013 had been the most trying season of his career.
"Yeah, not even close," he said. "Just trying to stay healthy and stay in the lineup, it was a rough year for that. It's hard to figure everything out; I just couldn't put together why it happened. ... It's tough, but it's part of the business. I wasn't helping my case anyways. That's just how it is, I'll just try to keep going."