It’s official: Kubel makes Twins' roster
By Brian Murphy and Mike Berardino
St. Paul Pioneer Press
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Jason Kubel reunion became official Tuesday when assistant general manager Rob Antony said the veteran outfielder will break camp with the Twins.
The team had to add Kubel to their 25-man Opening Day roster or pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to demote him to the minors and prevent him from becoming a free agent. He takes the last spot on the Twins’ 40-man roster that had been vacant since pitcher Vance Worley was waived last week.
Kubel batted fifth at designated hitter for Minnesota against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium. He took in a Grapefruit League .212 average, one home run and three runs batted in, plus six walks against 12 strikeouts.
“We think he can provide us offense, and we’ve seen enough that we believe he can do that,” Antony said. “He’s been healthy. I think the injuries are behind him. They were a big part of his struggles last year. He’s got some confidence.”
The Twins, who struck out an American League-high 1,430 times in 2013, need more productive and competitive at-bats from a mostly static lineup that is going to be challenged to score.
“He can take a professional at-bat,” Antony said. “I think Kubel will give us a professional at-bat every time up there and give us a chance to drive in some runs.”
Hampered by a strained quadriceps muscle for most of last season with Arizona and Cleveland, Kubel was limited to 97 games and hit only .167 — almost 100 points below his career average.
Kubel, 31, signed a minor-league deal with the Twins that will pay him $2 million in the major leagues with a chance to earn $1 million in performance bonuses tied to service time.
Talks with Correia
The agent for Kevin Correia said he and the Twins have discussed a contract extension for the veteran right-hander, whose two-year, $10 million deal will expire at season’s end.
“We had discussions with the club regarding Kevin’s status beyond his current contract,” agent Damon Lapa said in a phone interview. “I can confirm those discussions did take place. Kevin is excited by the improvements that have been made in the club for 2014, and he hopes to go out there and repeat his success and deal with things at the end of the season.”
According to a person with direct knowledge, the discussions were more substantive than those with another of Lapa’s clients, second baseman Brian Dozier.
Correia, 33, led the 2013 Twins staff in starts and innings after leaving Pittsburgh to sign as a free agent. He made it known at the start of spring training that he was open to staying in the Twin Cities beyond this season, and Lapa confirmed that talks took place when contacted by the Pioneer Press.
“We had discussions with the club regarding Kevin’s status beyond his current contract,” Lapa, based in Valencia, Calif., said in a phone interview. “Kevin is excited by the improvements that have been made in the club for 2014, and he hopes to go out there and repeat his success and deal with things at the end of the season.”
A late bloomer of sorts, Correia has lowered his earned-run average in each of the past three seasons while also increasing his innings. Last season, Correia’s first in the American League, he went 9-13 with a 4.18 ERA in 31 starts in front of one of the worst offenses in baseball.
Lapa would not discuss specifics of his negotiations with the Twins, but they were said by the source to be “more extensive” than the general discussions the Twins had with Dozier, who likely is two years away from entering the arbitration system.
The source also said talks would not carry into the season because Correia wishes to avoid such distractions once Opening Day arrives March 31.
Correia, set to earn $5.5 million this season, was said by the source to be willing to meet the Twins more than halfway in order to continue his strong working relationship with manager Ron Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson and a core group of teammates he enjoys .
Lapa, who has known the Twins front office since his days representing former outfielder Jacque Jones, said both sides gave it a solid effort but ultimately chose to suspend the talks amicably.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for Terry (Ryan) and Rob (Antony),” Lapa said of the club’s general manager and assistant general manager. “They’ve always been very honest, very upfront with us, and I know Kevin appreciates that as well.”
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.