In a surprise move, the Arizona Diamondbacks designated veteran outfielder Jason Kubel for assignment Monday afternoon, the team announced. The D'Backs now have a limited time to either cut ties with the outfielder or try sending him through waivers so they can assign him to a minor-league affiliate.
Kubel, 31, was having serious issues at the plate in the latter season of his two-year deal with Arizona, hitting a miserable .220/.288/.324 with five home runs in 89 games. But with roughly $2 million still owed to him through the end of the year -- plus a $1 million buyout for 2014 -- it's still a bit of a shock that the D'Backs would cut the cord now.
Many were skeptical of Kubel's two-year contract when he signed it back in December 2011, stating that the corner outfielder would fail to be effective without the opportunity to DH. But a solid first season -- .253/.327/.506 with 30 big flies -- put those concerns to bed... at least for a little while.
It looked like Arizona's expensive gamble was going to pay off after a fantastic April, but then Kubel went all Mark Reynolds. From May 1 through Tuesday's DFA, Kubel batted just .205/.276/.273 with two home runs, his power simply disappearing.
Kubel is a career .265/.330/.456 hitter with 139 home runs in nine big-league seasons. Given his solid performance (at the plate, at least) up to this year, there's a good chance he'll land with another club before the season is out.