Before the deal, the Twins essentially had Kubel under a one-year contact with an option for a second year. Now he's under a two-year contract with an option for a third year. So the Twins agreed to throw in an extra guaranteed year of money - and it will be an expensive guaranteed year, too. The Twins would've only needed to guarantee about $3M before the deal, and are likely up to about $9M with the deal.
So what did the Twins get in return?
They got an option on a third year at a point in Kubel's career where his numbers should project upwards. Kubel is just 26 years old right now, turning 27 at the end of May. So he's just now entering his prime, and was scheduled to be a free agent when he was just 28 years old. This deal gives the Twins the chance to lock Kubel up for three of his prime years instead of just two. We'll see how astute that is when we see just how much that option year will cost.
I'll be surprised if the details don't include a signing bonus, since the Twins should have plenty of unspent payroll money in their coffers. But it shouldn't be huge (almost definitely less than $2M) and certainly won't be significant enough to limit other moves that they could (and should) make.
When word leaked out that the Twins were pursuing a two-year deal with Kubel, I had my doubts that anything positive would come of it. First of all, it didn't make sense for the Twins to pursue a two-year deal when the already had Kubel under arbitration for the next two years. And it didn't make much sense for Kubel to sign a deal any longer than that, given that he was in a favorable position to score big in free agency.
I was wrong. The Twins and Kubel came up with a somewhat creative solution that gives Kubel his first enormous payday while giving the Twins an extra prime year of Kubel in the new stadium. Pending some crazy financial details, it sounds like a win/win, and both sides deserve a healthy scoop of credit for that.
Hey gang, just a couple of extra notes.....
First, I'm thinking about getting a ticket to the Diamond Awards banquet on Thursday night. Has anyone else gone? If so, can you throw down your impressions in the comments below?
Second, don't forget that I'll be at the Hot Stove League Banquet on Saturday Night at a GameDay table and answering questions afterwards. I'd love to meet folks, and it really is a very good and informal good baseball time. Here are the details:
WHEN: Saturday, 1/24. Doors Open: 5:30 pm. Festivities Begin: 7:10 pm.
WHERE: Harriet Island Pavilion Building (across from Dtwn St. Paul via the Wabasha Avenue Bridge).
PRICE: $30, adults; $25, ages 16 or younger. $5 more at the door.
TICKETS: Anodyne @ 43rd, 4301 Nicollet Avenue South in Minneapolis; Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe, 921 Selby Avenue in St. Paul or at the door.
MORE INFO: 651-227-3437, 651-644-9254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year our line up includes former Minnesota Twins and Millwaukee Brewers great Corey Koskie, Major League Baseball Umpire Tim Tschida and a tribute to our friend the late Andy Nelson (who was a great local sports and mural artist). StarTribune scribe LaVelle E. Neal III, another Twins Alumni (TBA) and other special guests are expected to join us as well.
Howard Sinker has signed on to be our our host this year. Cribbed from his web site, "A Fan's View From Section 220": "In a former life Howard has covered the Twins for the StarTribune. Today, he is a commentator on baseball and other sports for Minnesota Public Radio's Midday program. He grew up rooting for the Cubs, back before it was trendy, has settled quite nicely into a season-ticket package in Section 220 of the Metrodome and owns two XM Radios."
Finally, if you haven't signed up as a friend of TwinsGeek.com on Facebook, I hope you will. I hope to use it to stay in closer touch with everyone, including special short posts that I'll be "throwing against The Wall" there.