Arizona Downgrades With Kubel Addition

Last year, the Arizona Diamondbacks were baseball’s biggest surprise, winning 94 games and the NL West title just a year after finishing 65-97. The team’s turnaround was driven by strong performances across the roster, but among the key factors in their success was the excellent defense delivered by their trio of outfielders. Chris Young (+14.1), Gerardo Parra (+9.6), and Justin Upton (+7.7) all posted UZRs that ranked among the best in the league at their positions, and the Diamondbacks posted the best team outfield UZR (+31.1) in the National League. With the help of their strong gloves, the team was able to post an ERA (3.80) that was 22 points lower than their FIP (4.02), the fifth largest positive differential in the game.

Well, today, the team decided to change course, signing Jason Kubel to a two year, $15 million contract that will see him take over as the team’s left fielder. By acquiring Kubel, the D’Backs have essentially chosen to displace the incumbent Parra, and in looking at the two players, it’s not actually clear that the team is going to get any better.

Kubel’s addition signifies that the Diamondbacks wanted a bit more power from the left side to balance out the right-handedness brought by Upton, Young, Paul Goldschmidt, and Aaron Hill. While Miguel Montero and a potentially healthy Stephen Drew offered some power from the left side, the middle of the team’s batting order still skewed towards RHBs, and Kubel will give the team more thump at the plate than Parra would have. However, if the team thinks they’re getting a monstrous offensive upgrade in making the switch, they’re likely overestimating the difference between them.

While Kubel put himself on the map with a good 2009 season, he’s generally been only slightly better than an average hitter for most of his career. His career line of .271/.335/.459 is good for a 109 wRC+, almost a dead ringer for the 110 mark he put up last year. While he has some power, he’s not exactly a prototypical cleanup hitter, and he’s just about average in terms of drawing walks and avoiding strikeouts. At the plate, he’s okay at everything, and the overall package adds up to a decent-but-not-great offensive player.

How much better is he than Parra at the plate? Here are their career numbers side by side.

Jason Kubel Twins 2846 .271 .335 .459 8.8 % 18.7 % .188 .303 109
Gerardo Parra D’backs 1377 .282 .331 .403 6.6 % 17.9 % .120 .338 88

The walk and strikeout rates are similar, though it should be noted that Parra has drawn 23 intentional walks while hitting in front of the pitcher, so some of his perceived patience at the plate may be more of a factor of NL batting orders. Kubel has a big edge in power, though Parra’s speed has let him make up some of that difference with a higher BABIP. Overall, the offensive difference between the two based on their career numbers is about 15 runs over 600 plate appearances.

However, we probably shouldn’t just be content to use their career numbers. Kubel is five years older than Parra and is three years removed from his best season, while Parra showed signs of legitimate improvement at age 24 last year. If we give more weight to their most recent seasons, Parra’s wRC+ comes up to something closer to 95, cutting the difference between them to something closer to 10 runs over the course of a full season. It’s an offensive upgrade, but not a huge one.

And then we get to the parts of the game besides standing in the batter’s box, where Parra just destroys Kubel in value. This shows up most significantly on defense, where Kubel has essentially proven to be so bad that he should probably have been moved to permanent DH by now. In just over 3,000 innings in the outfield, he has a career UZR of -41.8, or about -17 runs per 150 games played. Even if you think UZR overstates the case against Kubel’s defensive prowess, he’s clearly below average at best and outright bad at worst. Even a strong regression on UZR will still leave you with an expectation of Kubel costing the D’Backs about 10 runs compared to an average defender if they run him out there as their regular left fielder.

And remember, Parra is not likely an average defensive left fielder. He has the skillset of a guy traditionally used in center field, and indeed, he’s racked up 360 innings of time in CF even with the D’Backs having a quality defender in Young already on the roster. In his nearly 2,000 innings of Major League experience in the outfield, Parra’s racked up a UZR of +22.5, or just about +10 runs per 150 games played. Given his player type, we should expect him to be better than the average left fielder, and defensive metrics suggest that this is exactly the case. Again, you can regress UZR if you don’t trust it’s conclusions, but you’re still going to come out with Parra being something like a +5 defender over a full season.

A +5 expectation for Parra and a -10 for Kubel would give us a gap of 15 runs defensively between the two, or about the same as the offensive difference between them strictly based on career numbers, ignoring Parra’s strong 2011 season and how their ages should inform our future projections. Once you add in baserunning (Kubel is lousy at this too) and durability, it’s really hard to make the case that Kubel is a better player than Parra. He provides a different set of strengths, but his weaknesses more than offset what he’ll bring to the table, and swapping out Parra for Kubel is likely to be a net negative for the Diamondbacks.

Now, Arizona might argue that it’s not either/or, and that they can have both on the roster with Parra moving to the fourth outfielder role, but that doesn’t really seem to be a very good use of resources. Both Kubel and Parra are left-handed bats, so they wouldn’t be able to platoon them and minimize Kubel’s struggles against southpaws. Meanwhile, Parra’s not going to take playing time from Upton in right field, and using him in center field in lieu of Young would only serve to make the defense even worse without really upgrading the offense in any meaningful way.

With Kubel as the left fielder, Arizona’s fourth OF should be a right-hander who can give Kubel days off against LHPs and substitue in for him defensively late in games, and Parra only fits half that bill. If they’re not sold on him as a regular, they’re better off trading him to someone who is, and finding another player to get the 200-250 PA they’ve left over for him after signing Kubel to take his job.

Overall, this is just a weird signing. The Diamondbacks didn’t really improve themselves, displaced a decent young player, and gave up about 10-15% of their payroll to make this lateral move. They could potentially rescue this deal by moving Kubel to first base (where he could platoon with Goldschmidt), but it doesn’t sound like that’s in the plan.

In their chase for left-handed power, the Diamondbacks likely just wasted a roster spot and $15 million over the next two years. For a team with a limited budget, this isn’t the kind of move they should have been making.

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

98 Responses to “Arizona Downgrades With Kubel Addition”

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  1. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    Parra is a better option considering similar overall performance and that he’s younger, cheaper. So it’s a bit of a headscratcher. However, if this let’s them trade Parra to fill a bigger need, it could work out in their favor.

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    • Trotter76 says:

      Parra is a nice player who can get on base and fields his position, but I don’t see him having a lot of stand-alone trade value. He’s really more of a 4th OF than a starter on most quality clubs (plus he has some utility value, as I believe he came up as an infielder). If this signing was an attempt to free up Parra to trade him, I find that to be a headscratcher too.

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      • MC says:

        As for trade value, by doing this IMO they destroyed Parra’s trade value, because other teams see that he’s now a spare part and won’t want to offer the DBacks much.

        However, there’s a lot to like about Parra. Young, cheap, does everything well enough but not outstanding in any one area.

        Dave left out one thing in his writeup, which I agree with entirely: Parra is a heck of a lot cheaper than Kubel (7.5M a year??). This is a terrible waste of resources for the Dbacks. Should’ve signed some more pitching.

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    • spartan says:

      I bet Kubel ends up in a first base platoon with Goldschmidt for most of his plate appearances and the corners if an outfielder gets injured.

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  2. Jeff says:

    I agree with everything Dave says, and this move really doesn’t make sense for Arizona. But for some reason I just have this image that Dave hates Jason Kubel. When I first saw this signing elsewhere, I knew he would have an articulated entitled something like “why does everyone love Jason Kubel” or something.

    I know that he DOESN’T hate Jason Kubel. Just feels that way for some reason.

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      • wobatus says:

        Dave had a piece prior to 2009 season (when Kubel got a decent contract from Twins) why Kubel wasn’t worth it and they should have signed someone like Hinske as a reasonable simulacrum for less. or something like that.

        As it happens Kubel had a big 2009 at the plate. Although Hinske has been decent himself in his role, so perhaps Dave was right. But Kubel earned that 2009 contract just with that one big season, even if he isn’t a great fielder. if he stays healthy my guess is he loves hitting in Az and the NL.

        Anyway, I think that may be what Jeff recalls.

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  3. Vin says:

    Still not sure what to think of Towers as a GM. He’s been up and down this off-season.

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    • Captain says:

      I agree completely.

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    • ValueArb says:

      It’s simple, Towers is terrible.

      The DBacks had a great year last year because a large portion of the roster had career years. Tower’s contribution was to fix the bullpen, and he did very well at that, but otherwise all the talent was already there.

      Towers is handicapped by a ridiculously low payroll, but constantly blows money on fungible over the hill vets. Most of his moves have been LOL bad.

      He’s essentially done 2 smart things. The Reynolds trade, and the Oakland trade. Every single signing he’s made has been awful.

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      • MC says:

        Yeah apparently Towers is pretty terrible. This signing alone has undone all the good signings he’s made, if any. If I were king for a day I would just tell Towers, you can’t sign anyone for more than $3.5M. And the Dbacks really don’t need to; they have so much young talent that they don’t really need to dip into the FA market.

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      • MC says:

        Also not sure about the Cahill deal. If you look at it from the perspective that the DBacks gave up their best pitching prospect, it’s not a good deal. If you look at it and say that their best pitching prospect is not very good, then yes it worked out well for them.

        BTW I know this is the wrong thread to post this on, but WTF is it with Beane’s obsession with outfielders who don’t slug? It’s just bloody weird.

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      • ValueArb says:

        I was giving Towers benefit of the doubt on the Cahill deal. I actually think Parker has substantially more upside and likely more long term value, but if Towers thinks the team can succeed in win now mode it’s probably worthwhile. But if they signed Kubel because Cowsill went in that deal then it’s a shot in both feet,

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  4. Awesome says:

    This is a nice relatively inexpensive move that provides a Hedge against Goldschmidt pulling a Brandon Belt at 1B, no way Kubel doesn’t hit 15-20 HR at home next year assuming 600PA.

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    • Mike says:

      $7.5 million is a lot for a guy with a slightly above average bat but one of the worst defensive players in baseball. He has a UZR of about -43 in just 393 games in the OF, about 2.5 seasons.

      Only one time has Kubel had a value worth more than $7.5 million and that was in 2009. His next high $/value amount was $4.7 million

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      • Awesome says:

        Parra was a very nice player in 2011 but in 2010 he posted a 71 wRC+, Goldscmidt is very talented but he wouldn’t be the first young player to crater in their first full season. Kubel is not a great player but if Lyle Overbay, Geoff Blum, and Xaiver Nady are the only thing a contending team is counting on to back up two young unproven players this is 7.5 well spent

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      • ValueArb says:

        In 2010 Parra was only 23 years old. I think Cameron is being kind to Kubel in the offensive comparison. I think odds are for Parra to be as good or better offensively as he was in 2011during his age 25-27 years, and for Kubel to slowly regress.

        There have to be far better, cheaper ways to insure against Goldschmidt or Parra failing than blowing $15M on Kubel.

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      • wily mo says:

        yeah, it’s pretty stunning that parra hit better at 24 than he did at 23, that never happens

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    • Lefty says:

      Giants’ fan here. Interesting comment about Belt and Goldschmidt. In my opinion, it’s not “Goldschmidt pulling a Brandon Belt” but “Gibson/Towers pulling a Bruce Bochy/Brian Sabean” that would be the appropriate comparison.

      I bring up Goldschmidt (and Freddie Freeman on the Braves) on Giants’ boards as examples of how teams SHOULD treat young players–in stark contrast to how the Giants treated Brandon Belt last year. Belt was yo-yoed up and down three times last year and when he was on the big league club, jerked between the starting lineup and the end of the bench. Despite all this, Belt was tied for 4th on the team in homers, and with a full season of PAs, could have hit 25-30.

      We Giants fans were hugely frustrated by this. By August 1 (about when Goldschmidt came up and the Dbacks took off while the Giants faded), it was obvious that Huff was not going to turn things around and needed to be benched. Not only should Belt have been playing, but the Giants had Brett Pill raking at AAA. Where the Dbacks brought up their young guy and let him play, the Giants stubbornly stuck with old guys that had lost whatever spark they had, not making changes until they had fallen too far out of the race.

      This Parra-for-Kubel swap kind of sounds like something Sabean would do–overpay someone past their prime and shove a young player to the bottom of the depth chart. Hope sense prevails and that you all have a great year and win the Wild Card!

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      • What the Giants did with Belt was probably due to “trusting veterans in a pennant race,” but largely it’s inexcusable. Throw in the fact that they toyed with him in LF in addition to moving him between levels and starting/bench roles and it’s a tragedy.

        Much agreed about Freeman: the Braves handed him the position from day one, and he was a very productive hitter (118 wRC+) despite some growing pains (especially as a fielder: -14.2 UZR/150). Now he’s got a full, productive season in the big leagues under his belt and he’ll be just 22 in 2012. Belt, conversely, is just as big a question mark as ever.

        That’s why I don’t think that the D-Backs would be doing themselves favors by playing Kubel at 1B over Goldy, either, as he’s a better prospect than Parra and probably shouldn’t be boxed out of PAs by a guy whose stats would be league average at 1B (.263/.338/.439 was league average for 1B in 2011 scarily close to Kubel’s line), and he’d also be learning a new position.

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      • Awesome says:

        I agree that Belt should have been the day one starter at 1B but that early crater was enough for Bochy to cut and run nothing in my impression of Gibson makes me think he would do different.

        As for Kubels line being about average at 1B that makes him a valuable person to have on a team.

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      • ValueArb says:

        Since Kubel has never played 1b in the majors, has an extreme platoon split, and would have to maintain his career batting performance as he ages past his peak and deals with his knee problems, it’s extremely unlikely he can be an average MLB first baseman.

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  5. Captain says:

    Wow, just a horrible signing. Kubel doesn’t deserve more than about $8MM or 2yrs … and that, of course, assumes your team needs him. Other teams should definitely be calling about Parra.

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  6. Scout Finch says:

    The Cahill/Parker swap is a bit of a head scratcher as well. Their pitching staff is a little bit stronger in the near future, but sure doesn’t seem like enough of an upgrade to justify shipping an arm with such a high ceiling.

    Not moves to strike fear in the Giants. Deeper team, but stronger? Marginally so.

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  7. Killer says:

    Second worst signing of offseason beat only by the capps overpay/loss of sandwich pick by twins.

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  8. StartWedman says:

    Love this deal. Really hate Gerardo Parra. . .real deep down like. But seriously. . .

    The Dbacks needed a left handed bat somewhere in that lineup to balance it out. While Parra is nice defensively, he does nothing with the bat. His BABIP last year was a little high at .342. In 2010 when his BABIP was .322 and his BA was a mediocre .261 is more like what you can expect out of him.

    Kubel should bounce back nicely as he is moving to a nice hitters ballpark in a warmer climate. Slot him into the everyday LF while also spelling Goldy at first some times. Then you have Bloomquist coming off of the bench as a right handed 4th outfielder.

    All in all, I like this move. It also opens up the Dbacks to possibly trade Parra for a back end starer.

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    • Mike says:

      Don’t forget he’s also moving to a division with much better pitching. San Fran, LA, and San Diego all had very good pitching stats in 2011. I know ERA isn’t of the greatest stats, but those 3 teams all ranked in the top 5 in NL ERA.

      Whereas in the AL, the team with the best ERA was Detroit, but they were ranked 7th overall in the AL which is about the average mark.

      It’s not that Kubel is a bad player to pickup, but it is certainly an overpay.

      I’d take Parra at minimum wage over Kubel at $7.5 million

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      • StartWedman says:

        True, but most of the good pitching in the NL West is right handed pitching. Kershaw is the exception. Since Kubel hits right handed pitching well, I will take ti. Not to mention, Latos is now gone and the Pads ERA is deflated (if that makes sense) due to playing in Petco.

        Also, why not pay Kubel? If the payroll is there, then lets make a run. Parra had a gun for an arm, but his decision making out in LF was suspect at times. Multiple games I got to watch him circle for a ball while it dropped 20 ft behind him.

        With a great pitching staff, the defense now can take a hit or two. Adding Kubel adds power and run production. Not only can the Dbacks out pitch everyone else in the West, but they can out slug them too.

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      • Mike says:

        StartWedman, I’m not saying don’t pay Kubel, but would you pay him $7.5 million a year for 2 years? Parra had a 2.8 WAR, the highest Kubel had in any season was 2.7.

        Again, a decent player to pick up, but $7.5 million a year? I’d take Parra, his excellent defense, and his solid OBP over Kubel with a solid bat/power and his awful D.

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      • Mike says:

        Note, I meant to say “Whereas in the AL Central”, not the AL.

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    • ValueArb says:

      It’s silly to pick on Parra’s BABIP jump when he’s a very fast guy who should have a high BABIP. As you pointed out, even in 2010 his BABIP was well above league average.

      And it’s silly to think he’ll regress. He was only 24 years old this year, it’s more likely he’s figuring things out and will continute to hit at this level or better. He’s likely the better hitter going forward than Kubel.

      lastly, Kubel has knee problems. Parra is extremely good defensively and better on the base paths. If Parra does regress his BABIP, and becomes a below average hitter again, he has significant other value to ensure he doesn’t revert to replacement level.

      If Kubel ever stops hitting, he’s below replacement level.

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    • werthless says:

      Maybe they can pick up a back-end starter with upside, like a Jarrod Parker.

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    • Jerry Eldred says:

      Parra has a high BABIP partially because of his speed, beating out infield hits that Kubel cannot. This is a horrific signing. Kubel has no plus defensive skill and should not play defensively period. He’s also slightly above average offensively (on a team that doesn’t really need offense) and has injury problems to boot. If you think this is an upgrade then you know little about baseball.

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  9. ABRAHAM says:


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  10. xeifrank says:

    Looks like the Diamondbacks just improved their team for those interleague road games! :)

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  11. Barry says:

    We had Xavier Nady, Cowgill, and Willy Mo last year who KT took a chance on. It’s a good move having multiple OF. I wish they would have kept Cowgill but he’s gone so, if they can afford to add a little power, no problem.

    I also think it’s going to be TOUGH for the Dbacks to FOLLOW last years performance. I really hope they do but, I think everyone will be READY for them this year. 47 comeback wins will be tough to duplicate.

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  12. Sailor Sam says:

    Think of the positives. They can use him at DH for 9 games this year, and almost certainly, for twice that in 2012. If the DBacks crash, he could be traded to an American League team at the deadline for prospects or pitching. Opposing hitters will get so excited he’s in LF that they will flub thier PA. His bat is good for 50 more games than Ryan Braun.

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  13. Mike D says:

    A horrible deal. Kubel played 58 games last year in the outfield

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  14. TheUncool says:

    Not exactly a fan of Towers, but some seem to be jumping the gun a bit on this move.

    Maybe Towers did actually plan on moving Parra when he made this trade, but that hasn’t happened just yet — it’s not like we’ve given this a couple months to play out already.

    Anyway, either way, it’s not exactly a horrible or even all that bad a move considering the DBacks’ actual situation. They are definitely in contending mode now, so a move like this would make more sense now than other times (when they’re not looking to contend).

    Also, who’s to say Parra will actually continue to improve or even match his recent, moderate success? He really doesn’t have enough of a track record to rely all that much on. And if you’re looking to contend, paying $7.5M/year for a couple years for someone w/ more of a track record (and also hopefully a bit further away from nagging injuries and such) isn’t the worst thing in the world. Not like the DBacks would’ve been able to spend that modest sum to acquire Prince Fielder or some other much better OF bat.

    Who knows? Maybe Towers actually has better info (than us) on predicting how well both Kubel *and* Parra will perform over these next couple years. Afterall, his job isn’t merely to analyze (somewhat limited) publicly available data from the past to put a fantasy baseball roster on the field (and in the farm)…

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    • TheUncool says:

      My bad for not doublechecking before posting.

      But obviously, “this trade” should be “this signing” in the 2nd sentence.

      And I guess I should’ve qualified my 3rd sentence a bit and said “… or not necessarily all that bad a move considering…”

      As for Parra’s anticipated improvement, I guess I should’ve also qualified that regarding these next couple years. He may continue to improve in the long run, but we all know that youngsters very often — maybe even typically — go thru plenty of ups and downs as they develop. And although Parra may develop into a decent everyday LF in the long run, he could very easily regress a good deal (in terms of actual results) in 2012 as part of that process…

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      • TheUncool says:

        One other thing.

        I’m not sure about the stats being quoted, but I get the feeling at least some folks are not properly/adequately weighting the diff between AL pitching vs NL pitching.

        Offhand, I don’t know what’s adequate, but as someone who’s been doing fairly well at FBB for the past decade (and regularly make use of the diff between AL vs NL), I can’t help but think some are underappreciating Kubel’s bat a bit w/ this switch from AL Central to NL West.

        Anyway, not saying it’s a great or particularly good signing. Just saying we can’t really tell just yet…

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      • ValueArb says:

        You are overvaluing the AL vs. NL thing, when most of the best NL pitchers are in the NL west, and few of the best AL pitchers are in the AL Central.

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      • cable fixer says:

        or: many of the best pitchers are in the NL west because they get to face the NL west…

        wOBA is measured against league average. the mere fact that kubel switches leagues improves his wOBA potential because the NL’s was (and projects to be) lower than the AL’s.

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      • TheUncool says:

        Actually, you’ll have to provide more serious proof that the NL West pitchers (outside of Kershaw and Lincecum) are really all that great in the grand scheme of things.

        Many of the better pitchers in the NL these days are recent imports from the AL, and the top AL imports did not go to the NL West — and if you can consider Ian Kennedy a top import, Kubel will be on the same team, so that won’t matter in this case.

        Also, the Padres’ best SP (Latos) just got traded out of the division, so that’s one less good SP for Kubel to face w/in the division. And although Jonathan Sanchez is iffy, he’s also gone from the NL West as someone who could easily give Kubel some trouble due to the platoon split issue.

        Honestly, your perception that the NL West has the best pitching in the NL could easily be an illusion caused by the rather weak offenses in that division combined w/ ballparks that moderately favor pitchers as a whole. That plus even their interleague rivals come from a rather weak division for the most part.

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      • Fred says:

        So when exactly were Halladay, Lee, Hammels, Johnson, Wainwright, Carpenter, Greinke traded to the NL West?

        There’s obviously some really good pitchers in the NL West, but I think it’s the pitching in the NL West story that is overdone. On fWAR for starters, NL West teams were 2,4,8,10,13 (out of 16 obviously).

        In terms of xFIP: 4,5,8,13,15

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    • ValueArb says:

      The problem is that Towers has a track record of under-valuing young players, and over-valuing “savvy old vets”. He has a track record of horrible signings and overpays for over the hill proven players.

      So it’s pretty easy to discount he has any magic eight ball view into Parra’s or Kubel’s futures.

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  15. jcxy says:

    “[Kubel] provides a different set of strengths.”

    1.I think you’re too low on Kubel vis a vis Parra, offensively. While it’s true that Kubel is 5 years older, he’s still in the good part of the bell shaped curve for hitters. You classify him as “3 years removed from his best year” as if he’s in his mid 30s. He’s not. He’s 29 in need of a change in scenary. Also, while I don’t have ZiPS or Marcel in front of me, BJ projects a 20 point wOBA difference between the two next year and that’s before changing leagues and moving from a bottom 1/3 park for HR to a top 1/3 park for HR (i know, ESPN park factors are far from gospel). still, 10 runs might be underselling the gap between the two.

    2. KT wants more GB pitchers. Given the two stellar defenders in the two (premium?) OF spots, in a vaccuum, if you believe in their wOBA difference, it makes sense that a team tolerate a -5 UZR LFer if they’re throwing 10% more GBs as a staff.

    3. As other posters have noted, Kubel might also act as an occasional collar for Goldschmidt. Not to splash cold water on Goldschmidt, because I think he’s an above average player, but his outstanding AA numbers were as a 23 year old. A full year wRC+ of 120+ from him next year might be ambitious.

    This probably doesn’t justify the overpay, but calling it a downgrade probably doesn’t do the move justice either.

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    • Dave says:

      My sentiments exactly. Not a great signing by any means, but I also feel Cameron is overstating Parra’s offensive upside by citing his age & decent year in 2011. We have no reason other than age to assume Parra can build on that year, and Kubel beating his 2011 performance at age 29, in an easier home park & against NL pitching, should not be a stretch. Assuming they platoon & D-sub for Kubel & he gets 475-525 PAs mostly vs RHs, I think a line of .275/.350/.500 is possible with 20-25 HR. Again, not saying I think he was worth the $7.5M per given that you already have Parra on board, but I can easily envision a scenario where he (substantially) beats Parra’s WAR contribution despite the difference in D.

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      • ValueArb says:

        We have no reason other than gravity to assume when I drop a book it will hit the floor.

        Hitters predominantly improve their performances from ages 21-24 to ages 25-28. You have no reason to assume Parra will be part of the minority that doesn’t.

        Again, Kubel is likely to be facing tougher pitching in the NL West than he did in the AL Central.

        And the fact that you can easily envision a scenario where Kubel beats Parra’s WAR doesn’t mean that scenario isn’t also very unlikely. What you can envision is not a determining factor in it’s probability.

        Kubel’s career WAR is significantly overstated because he’s never played more than half a season (in innings) on defense. He is going to have to play far more than that now, so instead of being -6 each year he’s going to be closer to -10, and so he’s giving up at around 17 runs on defense to Parra to start.

        Then there is base running, where is probably giving up another run or two to Parra. Likely more given that Parra’s manager is probably the biggest on base run waster in the majors, so Kubel is now going to be running more in bad spots. The difference here is truly understated, given Parra’s base running value is probably higher playing for any other manager.

        So Kubel has to beat Parra by around 15-20 runs with the bat for your scenario to come true, and that’s going to be pretty difficult when his career average for his bat is 5 runs a year. He’s only produced over 20 runs with his bat once in his career.

        And 15-20 runs assume Parra’s bat hasn’t developed and he’s going to be a -5 run hitter forever. Last year he was +6.6, if he just averages 0 it will be impossible for Kubel to create more value.

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      • ValueArb says:

        And let me expand on the age thing. If Parra was born 2 months later, his age 22 and 23 seasons would have been classified as age 21 and 22 seasons, and last year would have been classified obviously as age 23. IIRC, he was one of the 5 youngest players in the league his first year.

        It’s an interesting boundry problem. We track aging curves by season ages, and treat each year distinctly, but in this case he’s closer to the next lower age classification than he is the average age of his classification years. How much do you adjust for that?

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      • TheUncool says:


        You’re actually making unsubstantiated assumptions there about how youngsters will improve.

        For every youngster that does actually improve substantively, there are many who do not (and end up back in the minors or merely serve as serviceable utility players and benchwarmers).

        There really is no strong reason to believe Parra *will* improve substantively, especially over his 2011 performance, which was already a jump from past performance. He doesn’t have the pedigree nor track record to justify a strong belief in that.

        Also, even if Parra does develop into a decent everyday player in the long run, it can easily take a few years of up-and-down performances before he becomes reliable. Meanwhile, the DBacks are looking to contend *now*.

        Sure, the Kubel signing is questionable, but I don’t think anyone should believe too much in Parra’s likely contribution for 2012 though. There’s no easy way to tell at this point, and he’s likely enough to regress some (in actual results) before he ever becomes a decent, reliable regular, if he ever gets there.

        And honestly, you’re overstating the prowess of NL West pitching.

        I think an important key to this signing will be whether Kubel is finally healthy enough to produce consistently at his actual talent level (vs being hindered by bad knees and such). And yes, that is a real issue in this case — and is something I wonder whether Towers has actually good inside info on that’s not being covered here…

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      • ValueArb says:

        If you are trying to say that “most” 24 year olds don’t improve, than you are attempting to rebut the statistical history of all of baseball. And again, he was barely even 24, he would have been classified as 23 with a birth date two months later.

        And Parra doesn’t have to improve. If 2011 is his baseline, he’s already a significantly better player than Kubel, his offense is nearly as good, and he’s far better at everything else.

        Even if Kubel gets a boost because the NL West isn’t the pitchers paradise I believe it is, the value gap between him and Parra is still too substantial for Kubel to overcome without a very substantial different in offensive value. It can’t be 20 points of anything.

        And Tower’s can’t have insight into Kubel, only insight into Parra. Parra is the guy he knows. Kubel is the new hire, and he is gimpy and hasn’t played full time in the field ever. In his career he has averaged less than 60 games a year playing defense. Again, Tower’s track record is clear on aging vets, he overvalues them and overpays them, and has no real insight.

        If he’s worried about Parra, this is a horrendous waste of $15M on the worst kind of insurance. A guy already struggling with injuries who is going to have to suddenly become a full time player late in his career, and whose best value is if he can learn on an entirely new position, first base, and then only in a platoon role.

        And you miss the most obvious point. He REPLACED Parra with this trade, Kubel has been handed the LF job in the announcement. How does it make sense to pay $7.5M per year to be, best case, slightly better in LF? Can’t he find a backup LF to platoon with Parra far cheaper and spend the rest of the money on other holes for far more wins?

        And as has been pointed out on this thread, whatever value Parra has in trade he just reduced. if he starts to shop Parra teams will know it’s because he can’t afford to have both Kubel and Parra and they aren’t going to overpay for Parra. If he already had some amazing deal for Parra it might make sense, but it sure seems like Parra is the type of player who, while very very useful because of his skills and cheapness, doesn’t carry a great deal of trade value right now.

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      • TheUncool says:

        I’m not saying most 24-yo don’t improve (at all), but how do you know that Parra will actually improve in the near term or all that much in the long run?

        I think you’re likely committing some sort of statistics fallacy in how you’re evaluating Parra’s probable development path, especially as it relates to this next year or two.

        I believe the burden of proof is on you if you want to argue that Parra is very likely to improve substantively in the near term. Parra probably actually has to improve substantively to repeat his 2011 stat line because it was at least partially bolstered by a higher-than-expected BABIP along w/ some IBBs for batting in front of a pitcher. And there may be other aspects at play that can easily cause him to regress some before ever developing into a decent regular.

        But that’s just part of the whole equation in evaluating this move to sign Kubel of course…

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      • ValueArb says:

        Again, Parra doesn’t have to improve. You seem to entirely dismiss the value of defense and base-running. If Parra just plays to his career averages, he’ll be more valuable than Kubel will playing 140 games of defense.

        But again, it’s statistically more likely than a 23/24 year old improves going forward than he declines. You may think Towers has a crystal ball that tells him Parra has peaked, but historically he’s not used that crystal ball very often.

        What is undebatable is Parra has significant upside to his career averages, he was 23 years old at the beginning of last year. It’s very possible that he can improve enough to make last year his plateau without batting 8th or having a high BABIP. Kubel has no upside, instead he has a substantially higher injury risk.

        Given Parra’s greater existing value in the field and on the bases, his potential is just icing on the cake.

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  16. SHS says:

    A semi-biased Twins fan here, I actually really like the move for them.

    Did Towers and co. overpay a bit? Sure probably, but he’ll be a bigger upgrade offensively that it is let on to here, Parra wouldn’t ever touch what Kubel does to RH pitchers. Kubel’s babip is just over .300 ….and is due for a slight uptick in performance where as Parra’s babip is about .340 .

    + you through in the fact, eventually, Kubel should be the perfect compliment to Goldy at 1B in a platoon, that should happen eventually (not right away)

    And in interleague Play this year, i’m predicting the D ‘ Backs to go about 17-2.

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    • Sailor Sam says:

      (SHS) And in interleague Play this year, i’m predicting the D ‘ Backs to go about 17-2.

      Pretty interesting, since the D’Backs have 16 interleague games scheduled.

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    • ValueArb says:

      Parra hit .296/.355/.427 vs RHP in 2011.

      Kubel has hit .282/342/.490 vs RHP in his career.

      Kubel “has been” more valuable, but not by a great deal, esp. factoring in the greater value of OBP and Parra’s big base-running edge.

      The bigger problem is that Kubel is a black hole against LHP.

      Kubel Career vs. LHP .239/.313/.365/.678
      Parra Career vs. LHP .256/.310/.335/.645

      The difference of course is that Parra’s numbers include his age 22-23 seasons. In 2011 he actually put up a .780 OPS vs LHP, while that seems flukish it certainly seems like we should expect him to have more value against RHP than Kubel.

      Parra is a better bet than Kubel going forward in every dimension, and far cheaper. The only value for Kubel is to platoon Goldschmidt with at first base and DH in inter league play a dozen or so times a year.

      But then you have to ask yourself, $15M for an aging part time platoon player/occasional DH with bad knees who will be learning a new position?

      There had to be far cheaper options to solve that problem.

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      • cable fixer says:

        “Parra is a better bet than Kubel going forward in every dimension, and far cheaper.”

        That’s simply not true. The wOBA+ projection available on this site puts Kubel ahead of Parra by 20 points.

        Couple that with the change in leagues and improved park factors, a reasonable person can absolutely expect that difference to expand. wOBA is, after all, a product of how you compare to your league.

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      • ValueArb says:

        Again, the change in leagues hurts Kubel. He’s going to be facing tougher pitchers, and the park factors in CA aren’t that great.

        Not sure which projections you are using, but they don’t ring right, or at least they don’t sound like they are incorporating all of the proper data.

        – Parra is young for his age classification at critical projection years.
        – He finally put together a good hitting season, which is often the sign of better to come with young hitters. Carlos Gonzalez was only 5 months younger when he had his first solid MLB hitting year.
        – He has all of the skills except power to become a plus hitter.

        – Is now on the wrong side of the aging curve.
        – Is now dealing with knee problems.
        – Will now be forced to play in the field 70-80%+ instead of 50%. Which can compound those knee problems.

        And even if Kubel outhits Parra 20 points, it can’t come close to making up for the huge defensive gap and the huge cost difference.

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      • cable fixer says:

        found on fg…

        Bill James System Projections (wOBA):

        Parra: .332
        Kubel: .351

        Fan Projection System (wOBA):
        Parra: .319

        we’ll see what ZiPS et al say when they come out, but are these results really *that* surprising?

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      • ValueArb says:

        Not that surprising, because most fans are idiots first, and also because Bill James projections don’t have a great reputation.

        But mostly because projection systems can’t account for Kubel’s knee, or how it and his bat are going to fare when he’s playing in the field twice as often as he has ever done in his career. And because projection systems slot Parra as a 25 year old this year, when he’s really closer to a 24 year old.

        Projection systems are really cool, and should serve as the ground floor for where you start to project a player. But to use them blindly in situations where you have significant injury and playing usage differences they can’t incorporate is foolish, that’s where an analyst/GM needs to earn their paycheck, incorporating important extra data.

        And lastly, if Bill James is spot on, and Kubel has 19 points of WOBA over Parra next year on this team, Parra is still more valuable and it’s not even close. And Parra is what, $6M a year less expensive?

        In no dimension is this a good or smart deal unless the Giants just gave us Buster Posey for Parra.

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      • cable fixer says:

        If this is an elabortate trolling effort, I congratulate you on increasing entropy today.

        If this isn’t, then i’m not sure what to say. You’re disregarding most information that doesn’t fit with your argument for very flimsy reasons while simultaneously playing up points that don’t really matter. For instance,

        1. “Again, the change in leagues hurts Kubel.”

        Wrong. The change in league helps Kubel, by definition. The NL has a lower wOBA than the AL. wOBA is calculated relative to league average. A player with a .351 wOBA in the AL had a better season than someone with a .351 wOBA in the NL.

        2. “He’s going to be facing tougher pitchers”

        This is debatable. You’re specifically referring to NL West vs AL Central. I recommend you read the Seidman piece from earlier this offseason on Kershaw and Halladay and the effect of competition on a pitcher’s numbers. His argument was that the NL West has terrible offenses that inflate pitching stats, although only in a minor fashion. However, really, the division doesn’t matter as much as the change in league (per #1).

        3. Your preoccupation with his age.

        How do you know how his age is calculated in the bill james projection system? Why wouldn’t they use his age in years and months rather than in years? There are plenty of reasons to not trust projection systems, but your given reason not one of them.

        Moreover, with the exception of Marcel, I believe all projection systems attempt to utilize exactly the age curves that you’re talking about (and if I’m not mistaken, are actually outperformed by Marcel when it comes to rookies and young players). What this means is disregarding minor league numbers (as Marcel does) actually leads to more highly correlated projections. So, while that’s certainly a downside of quoting projections, it’s equally a downside of your argument that you feel young players improve as they age in a knowable and repeatable fashion. They simply don’t.

        4. You’re overvaluing Parra’s most recent performance while simultaneously expecting the worst from Kubel.

        Is this warranted? Don’t mistake me. I think Parra is a fine player. But let’s not make him into the next Shane Victorino quite yet. Despite his 15 for 16 performance in SB, his bsr was a net negative on the year. Kubel’s value may come in less progressive ways, but it’s not worthless. And as previous posters have pointed out, he’s a decent safety for goldschmidt struggling as well. Was it a little expensive? Maybe. But lefthanded power was a need and the price may end up being mitigated by returning a nice almost-ready B prospect for Parra.

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      • ValueArb says:

        Here let me make an effort to convince you I’m not trolling.

        1. “Again, the change in leagues hurts Kubel.”

        I’ll admit I was off base on this, my impression of the pitching in the NL West doesn’t match up with the data.

        But how much does it help him. Kubel was worth a total of 9.3 runs the last two years. He’s averaged about 8 runs per 150 games during his career with the bat. At age 30, with gimpy knees, and being forced to play the field far more than ever in his career, how much is the NL West going to help his numbers?

        Is his bat now going to worth 10 runs per season, despite being worth less than half that the last two?

        2. “He’s going to be facing tougher pitchers”

        I agree it’s debatable. But my points above still stand.

        “3. Your preoccupation with his age.

        How do you know how his age is calculated in the bill james projection system? ”

        I don’t. It’s a minor point either way. But Parra is going to start next year still age 24, and I think it’s universally accepted position players typically continue to improve at this age.

        “your argument that you feel young players improve as they age in a knowable and repeatable fashion. They simply don’t.”

        I haven’t argued once that Parra’s improvement is knowable or used any minor league numbers. I’m saying in aggregate, players are more likely to improve than not at this age. Parra may not. But it’s harder to argue that he’ll be worse going forward than it is he will be better, given the general performance curve of aggregate players.

        “4. You’re overvaluing Parra’s most recent performance while simultaneously expecting the worst from Kubel.”

        Again, I’m not. If Parra is simply his career averages, a career that started at age 21, he is almost certain to be a better left fielder than Kubel next year.

        Instead of +3 runs per season (average value of Kubel’s bat the last 2 seasons), or +8 runs per season (Kubel’s 150 game career averages) or +10 or whatever you want to give him for being in the NL West now, Parra’s bat has averaged -6 runs per 150 games. Let’s say the difference is 16 runs per 150 games in Kubels favor.

        Parra has averaged 1 run per season better base running, so now the difference is 15 runs per season in Kubel’s favor.

        Parra has averaged +9 runs per 150 games on defense. Kubel has averaged -8.4 runs per 150 games on defense. Now the difference is +2.4 runs per 150 games in Parra’s favor.

        Now let’s suppose you think that’s a wash, that defensive metrics are wishy washy enough, etc. Ok, why pay $7.5m extra for a player with similar value to one you already have and are trying to develop further?

        But it’s not a wash if you look even closer at the numbers. Kubel’s defensive cost is substantially under-represented because he has been mostly a DH with the Twins. He has 3,000 outfield innings in 750 games, so he’s averaging about 400 outfield innings in every 150 games. Parra is averaging nearly 1,200 outfield innings every 150 games. To play in the NL Kubel has to play the field full time now, and that means his defensive cost goes up to 24 runs in a 150 games.

        Now it’s not even close to a wash. And the comparison gets worse. To play a full season Kubel has to not get hurt, and his gimpy knees can’t fill with fluid and force him to miss games. Parra is less likely to get hurt and more likely to play more games, and hence generate more value.

        There there is another important factor we can’t quantify with any accuracy, but is significantly tilted in favor of Parra. And we know Parra is more likely to improve than Kubel, and Kubel is more likely to decline than Parra, because of their locations on the aging curves and because of their relative injury history.

        Even if Kubel hits far better in the NL West and his bat starts putting up +20 seasons, it’s extremely unlikely he can play well enough in the field not to give most or all of it back, and also stay healthy enough to play 150 games + in the field.

        “Is this warranted? Don’t mistake me. I think Parra is a fine player. But let’s not make him into the next Shane Victorino quite yet. Despite his 15 for 16 performance in SB, his bsr was a net negative on the year. Kubel’s value may come in less progressive ways, but it’s not worthless. ”

        Kubel is not worthless. Not as a DH. But he’s likely to be very close to worthless as a full time left fielder given his awful defensive history and his injury history.

        “And as previous posters have pointed out, he’s a decent safety for goldschmidt struggling as well. Was it a little expensive? Maybe. But lefthanded power was a need and the price may end up being mitigated by returning a nice almost-ready B prospect for Parra.”

        Word on the street is that Parra is moving to CF, and CY is the one being shipped out. Which means the DBack outfield goes from one of the best in the majors to well below average, all in one fell swoop. And you are clearly undervaluing Parra if you think a B prospect is a reasonable return for a guy who in his career has averaged almost 2 WAR per season and is still super young and super cheap.

        What you and other posters are missing is that there are always other options. Johnny Damon’s bat is substantially more valuable than Kubel, and he put up those numbers in the toughest division in baseball, he’s a better baserunner, and a far better defender. And unlike Kubel he’s actually played first base before so he’s a plausible platoon/backup plan for Goldschmidt.

        Damon is supposedly looking for a one year deal and probably could be had for the same $5M he played for last year. But even if you gave him 2 years $15M you are getting a much better NL outfielder than Kubel.

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  17. shthar says:

    A good example to show people when they claim baseball teams are getting smarter.

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    • TheUncool says:

      Actually, if you’re talking about the article (and ensuing discussion) itself, it’s also a good example of how many of us seem to think/believe we know more than we actually do as well. ;-)

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      • Fred says:

        Agreed… there are some variables here that I’m not sure we can accurately assess (and probably others we aren’t aware of).

        1) Different leagues.
        2) Hitting in the 8th spot for Parra…not just IBB’s, pitchers aren’t exactly grooving fastballs 2-0 and 3-1 with the pitcher on deck
        3) The accuracy of UZR on a still fairly limited data set for Parra (he’s no doubt a very good LF, but is the quantification of that good enough at this point?)
        4) Secondary effects… what is the value of being able to break up some RH bats toward the middle of the lineup… probably fairly minor, but this is an are where I think SABR just assume is a non-factor.

        I don’t love this move, but I also think people are a bit too quick to judge this move.

        Perhaps there is other information that we simply don’t have access to… maybe there’s some batted ball speed data that suggest Parra’s BABIP is flukish or that Kubel’s BABIP is understated. (or other more detailed data that the average internet GM commenter doesn’t have access to)

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      • ValueArb says:

        Parra has 3,000 innings of outfield work already. It’s not a lock he’s the gold glover UZR seems to think he is, but odds that he’s not an above average LF defender are pretty slim by this point. In fact Kubel only has 3,087 innings in the outfield in his entire 7 year career, and i don’t doubt UZR’s conclusion that he’s at least bad, and likely awful.

        And Parra’s UZR for his first very young year (age 21/22 season) was negative. UZR/150 over the last two years in left (1,600 innings) is something like +20 (though I’m unsure of why UZR is using 700 inning as a 150 game season, which is what it appears like to me).

        The 8th spot advantage is something I’ve overlooked. If you drop his IBB’s down to the NL average (from 16 to 4) his OBP drops to .332 last year. And it appears I’m overselling NL West pitching and general AL vs. NL performance levels.

        But it’s still pretty simple. In Parra, if he’s the exact same guy as his young career indicates and never improves, will average about 16 RAR/150 games, or 1.8 WAR a year, for peanuts.

        In Kubel, you are paying $7.5M a year a guy who has averaged 7.6 RAR/150 for his career, or 0.8 WAR. His offensive value should be improved by moving to the NL, and NL West. But his over-all value should be degraded by forcing him to play more defense, and by his already higher injury risk being increased by more outfield innings, which can’t be good for his bat either.

        Parra is the superior player now, and it’s not even close. Parra has the much brighter future, and it’s not even close. Parra is cheaper, and it’s not even close.

        If Kubel’s splits were reversed, it would make slightly more sense because they could platoon, and platooning reduces the risk that Parra declines. And then Kubel could platoon with Goldschmidt. But still $7.5M is a lot to pay for that flexibility.

        But it doesn’t make any sense to start Kubel ahead of Parra, in fact it only makes sense to play him when Parra is resting Chris Young vs. RHP. And $7.5M just doesn’t make sense in any way.

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    • Barkey Walker says:

      google, “winers curse” and you will see that every baseball team has to get smart before you end up with no deals like this.

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  18. TheUncool says:

    RE: the comments about overpay, I don’t think Dave actually called it that exactly — well, not specifically about the salary in and of itself. If they didn’t already have Parra (or similar), paying $7.5M/year for a couple years to a 29-yo FA whom you expect to put up 2-to-3 WARs ain’t exactly overpaying given the fair market FA WAR/$ number typically thrown around here.

    IF Parra takes a dive in his 2012 results (as often happens w/ developing youngsters), then $7.5M/year for 2-to-3 WARs that can actually contribute toward their postseason aspirations will be well spent.

    Also, a recent comment that Towers might be depending more on the pitching staff to yield GBs would make some sense in combo w/ this signing. Certainly, acquiring Cahill is one step in that direction…

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  19. Davery says:

    As a Dbacks fan, I can’t see a way to justify this, even as a huge homer. Parra may or may not have a worse offensive year, it doesn’t really matter, his value is in fielding (and to a lesser extent baserunning as the article points out), and really there isn’t a great risk of either of this getting dramatically worse. Meanwhile, Kubel could easily have a bad offensive year and now we’re gonna be paying him 2/15? Over a guy who at worst will only be slightly worse and who is still making league minimum? Not sure if he’s still making league minimum, point is he’s way cheaper.

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    • TheUncool says:

      I think you’re understating the “at worst” scenario of sticking w/ Parra.

      As for Parra’s predicted performance (and contribution to their 2012 contention), you cannot just throw out his bat just because his greater value is in his D. It’s not like you can just bat someone else in his place while he plays D. Ideally, you’d want Kubel (or some other DH-type bat) to bat and Parra to play D, but you can’t have that.

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      • ValueArb says:

        No, ideally you want the 2011 Parra to bat, because he’s superior to the career Kubel at the plate. Higher OBP, better base-running, less extreme platoon split.

        And if the 2012 Kubel outhits the 2012 Parra, he has to do it by a hella lot, given that he’s giving up a ton of runs on defense and the base baths to any year Parra.

        Too many posters here putting too much weight on Parra’s age 22/23 years (and he was a young 22/23 during those seasons to boot). It’s relatively unlikely that he won’t hit significantly better from ages 25-27 than he did ages 22-24.

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      • TheUncool says:

        You (and some others) are clearly ignoring some factors here.

        There’s the issue of whether Kubel will finally be healthy enough to produce consistently. If he’s no longer hindered by knee problems — the first and probably foremost of which was caused by his torn ACL towards the end of his rookie season campaign — which is admittedly a big IF under the circumstance, then *both* his offense and defense could improve quite a bit. As I mentioned above, that will likely be a key to how this signing will turn out.

        Also, in your favorable view of Parra, you’re ignoring Dave’s own qualification that Parra’s OBP was partially bolstered by a lot of IBBs likely because he spent much of his time batting in the 8th hole (ahead of a pitcher). That plus his rather high BABIP (even for someone w/ his speed). If the DBacks want to put another lefty somewhere in the middle of their batting order, then Parra’s OBP will likely stop benefiting from those extra IBBs. They apparently want a lefty who can actually drive the ball some rather than rely mostly on speed and some situational IBBs and such.

        I don’t know offhand how many IBBs Parra drew last year due to batting in front of a pitcher, but if you just prorate Dave’s quoted number (23 career such IBBs) across Parra’s last 2 seasons — he only had 1 IBB before that — and then remove the prorated amount (~13) from last year’s line, you end up w/ a ~26pt drop in OBP, which is pretty substantial in his case.

        Now, maybe Kubel isn’t the best lefty they could’ve gotten for the role they envision, but Parra probably isn’t it either. If Kubel can actually put his nagging injuries behind him, then he should have a very good chance of outproducing Parra by quite a bit me thinks. But again, AFAIK, that’s a big IF at this point.

        In any case, you’re really likely overstating the probability of Parra’s development into a decent regular all that soon, if ever, at this point. Remember, the DBacks are looking to contend now, not just whenever Parra becomes a reliable contributor as he develops…

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      • ValueArb says:

        Again, look at their career averages. Kubel simply hasn’t produced as well as Parra so far, why would he suddenly start now? His defensive shortcomings are so costly that his offensive edge can’t overcome it, and now the DBacks are going to have to force him to play even more defense than he’s ever played in his career.

        You can run down Parra all you want, but the DBacks already had him, he is super cheap, and he is the more valuable left fielder. And Parra has two and a half years where he has produced close to the average left fielder’s level of value, so he is already a decent regular. I’m not sure why you can’t see that.

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  20. adohaj says:

    But Kubel hits more HR so Kubel > Parra….right

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  21. Marver says:

    If the manager plays Kubel over Parra because of the difference in their paychecks, that is a managerial error, not a general managerial error. The team didn’t get worse, they got better because Kubel is better than their other bench options. Even if Kubel is played over Parra, the team still didn’t get worse; their manager was just given a decision to make that has a heightened negative repercussion when misplayed.

    I think more emphasis should be placed on the possible managerial error in playing Parra over Kubel than the signing itself, which does actually improve the 25 man roster.

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    • Sailor Sam says:

      Did ya read the article??

      It says they signed Kubel to play Left Field. The manager doesnt’ have an option anymore. Not unless Kubel completely falls apart, it just ain’t gunna happen shipmate.

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      • TheUncool says:

        Except recent history seems to suggest otherwise.

        Wouldn’t be the first time Gibson does what seems to be the opposite of Towers’ wishes…

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    • wily mo says:

      ok so you’re arguing that this is a not a bad move because functionally they gave a 2-year deal at $8M per to a fourth outfielder. cool

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  22. Hurtlockertwo says:

    As a Giants fan I love this move.

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  23. stevephoenix says:

    This is a stupid article. Arizona Diamondbacks did not downgrade by signing LF Jason Kubel. Yes Gerardo Parra is a young player & a golden glove winner to but he is not a good or great hitter in which the D-backs really need on their team right now & Kubel can bring that more than Parra can. Kubel has shown that he can hit throughout his career with the Twins & by him going to the D-backs he can hopefully find his swing again especially when he will be playing at a hitters ballpark in Chase Field compared to being stick at a pitchers ballpark when he was with the Twins in Target Field. Even D-backs GM Kevin Towers have said that nothing has changed in that Parra can still start the new upcoming season in the OF yet but the chances of that happening looks slim as of this moment but who knows Kubel might have a bad year & HC Kirk Gibson can easily turn back to Parra as the starting LF yet. Now Towers can trade Parra but he will not get anyone good if that’s the only person he is trying to trade to a team so for Towers to get anyone good for Parra he most trade more than Parra to a team to get anyone good back to the D-backs. Really the D-backs don’t need to trade Parra at all & a lot of experts like ESPN & MLB network have said it looks like Towers will keep Parra on the team for next season & that will be great for the D-backs & HC Gibson because now they will have good players to switch if & when they need to & it’s always better to have more good players on the team then just one of course. If Kubel does not work out after one season of play then the D-backs can pay him out with just 1 million dollars so it’s not a big risk at all for the team. Parra is not a good hitter & Kubel is so the D-backs are better off with a better hitter then one that’s not because the D-backs need good hitters on their team then a young golden glove hitter who can’t hit that good any day. No matter what the D-backs & Towers improved not downgraded themselves by getting Kubel. Great pick up.

    Go D-backs!!!!!!!

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    • Brandon says:

      Now Towers can trade Parra but he will not get anyone good if that’s the only person he is trying to trade to a team so for Towers to get anyone good for Parra he most trade more than Parra to a team to get anyone good back to the D-backs.


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    • ValueArb says:

      Kubel has shown he can hit but hopefully will find his swing again?

      The DBacks can’t buy out Kubel after 1 year, it’s a 2 year deal, with a 3rd mutual option they have to pay off at $1M.

      And this article makes perfect sense. Kubel is one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball. Whatever offensive upgrade he represents over Parra he’s going to give back in the field. And he’s nursing long time injuries that make it likely he won’t play full seasons. He’s suited to being a DH, that’s it. KT just set $15M on fire and made the team worse.

      See how I break up my commentary into sentences and paragraphs to make it easier to read? Try it with your gibberish.

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  24. razor says:

    Parra’s triple slash in the minors = .314/.375/.440 so his 2011 season in Arizona looks just about right, with some upside for even a little better stuff. It takes most young hitters around 1,000+ PA’s to find their sea legs in MLB anyway.

    Dave Cameron got this one correct. Parra is the better player when you consider every facet of the game outside of isolated power. He’s basically a CF in LF and his five best seasons (historically based) are right in front of him. Kubel would have to destroy Parra offensively for this to work. That might happen…but I’d bet against it.

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  25. sir adam says:

    invoice factoring very nice blog here i like it and would like to appreciate you on this so keep it up
    Looking for a creative, ‘outside the box’ Canadian business financing solution? You may have investigated factoring receivables already but either didn’t understand how accounts receivable financing works, or, probably more to the point weren’t comfortable with how it works for your firm on a daily basis.

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  26. shoewizard says:

    Right is right and wrong is wrong

    Jason Kubel was the signing off the off season. Towers came up aces with this signing. He’s having a career year, and doing a large chunk of the damage at lefty friendly Chase. Good call by Towers to believe Kubel would thrive in Chase field.

    Home 182 PA .331/.412/.713 15 HR, 50 RBI, 22 BB, 45 K
    Away 169 PA .257/.320/.414 5 HR, 20 RBI, 15 BB, 44 K

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  27. robert says:

    as of this writing, he is leading the NL in RBI. this is not a “i told you so” post- i read this article when it came out and thought it made perfect sense. just a good example of how tough it is to predict human performance.

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    • Wobatus says:

      Several people in this thread pointed out Kubel might thrive in Arizona. But his WAR per plate appearance is about the same as Parra. It’s worked out well thus far.

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  28. Derp-A-Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr says:

    Failed again Cameron what a donk

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