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Friday, December 23, 2011

Dewan: Diamondbacks Sign Kubel - I Don’t Get It

Hitch your jalopying Kubelwagen to a future star!

Last year Kubel, a lefty, hit .273 with 12 homers and a .766 OPS in about 400 plate appearances.  Parra, also a lefty, hit .292 with 8 homers and a .784 OPS in just under 500 plate appearances.  Parra created 71 runs to 59 for Kubel.  Given the fewer plate appearances for Kubel, you can say offensively the two players were pretty even.  But it’s defense that made Parra a much better player than Kubel in 2011.  Parra saved an estimated 12 runs for Arizona last year. He won a Gold Glove in recognition for his superlative play in the field.  Kubel cost his team about 3 runs defensively.  That 15-run difference is huge.

...The most interesting number is the projected Runs Created, the Bill James statistic that measures total offensive contribution.  Kubel has 77 projected runs created while Parra has 78.  Parra has a few more at-bats, but I think you can easily say that these two players are pretty close offensively.

But not defensively.  In the last three seasons Parra has saved 33 runs defensively while Kubel has cost his team a total of 3.  That’s 36 runs better for Parra, and it makes him a better overall player than Kubel.  Factoring offense and defense, you can estimate that with similar regular playing time, Parra will produce about 85-90 runs when you add in his defense compared to 75-80 runs for Kubel.

It’s possible that the Diamondbacks know something that we don’t know.  Maybe they have another deal in the works.  Maybe there’s something wrong with Parra.  Maybe they can project players better than we can.  But whatever it is, I don’t get it.

Repoz Posted: December 23, 2011 at 10:48 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: arizona, history, projections, sabermetrics

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#4022635)
Makes no sense on its own, and even less sense in the wake of the Willingham and Beltran deals.
   2. Bug Selig Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#4022637)
Ron Gardenhire obviously has pictures of Kirk Gibson dressed as Little Bo Peep, and he chose this offseason to share them with Kubel's agent.

You guys can't figure anything out.
   3. Shooty is obsessed with the latest hoodie Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#4022645)
Ron Gardenhire obviously has pictures of Kirk Gibson dressed as Little Bo Peep

Meh. Gibson could pull that off.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#4022660)
Ron Gardenhire obviously has pictures of Kirk Gibson dressed as Little Bo Peep


I don't believe what I just saw!
   5. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 23, 2011 at 08:24 PM (#4022786)
It’s possible that the Diamondbacks know something that we don’t know. 


It's quite possible (quite likely in fact) that 2011 aside, that Kubel is a significantly better hitter than Parra...

OTOH Parra is most definitely younger, cheaper and a better defender...
   6. Most doorknobs are on the right side of the doors Posted: December 23, 2011 at 10:52 PM (#4022826)
Isn't it probably at least partially the case that the Diamondbacks would prefer an OF of Upton, Young, Kubel, Parra to an OF of Upton, Young, Parra, Winfree and/or Gillespie? Yeah, if everyone's healthy all year it seems like a waste to sign Kubel and have him cutting into Parra's playing time, but how often does a team get through the season healthy?
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 11:28 PM (#4022838)
Isn't it probably at least partially the case that the Diamondbacks would prefer an OF of Upton, Young, Kubel, Parra to an OF of Upton, Young, Parra, Winfree and/or Gillespie? Yeah, if everyone's healthy all year it seems like a waste to sign Kubel and have him cutting into Parra's playing time, but how often does a team get through the season healthy?

The problem is Young and Upton are young and will hopefully play 150+ Gs each, and Parra and Kubael are both LH. If Parra were RH, there could be a nice platoon using Kubel at 1B and LF. But as is, 2/15 is a high price for OF depth.

I bet there's another move coming with Parra. Otherwise, I don't get it.
   8. booond Posted: December 24, 2011 at 12:05 AM (#4022850)
I didn't understand the deal, either. Kubel is a LF/DH with more emphasis on DH. He is an AL player.

However, equating Kubel's and Parra's hitting ability is a little far-fetched. This was the first year Parra was a better than average hitter so we can't be sure this is a true reflection of Parra's abilities. Kubel has five straight seasons at better than average with 2009 garnering him MVP consideration. Plus, Kubel was hurt last year.

Parra is the better defender but looks more like a 4th OF. Of course, Kubel is better off as the left-handed half of a DH platoon. Kubel will play against RHP being pulled for defense. Parra gets time against RHP in center as Young struggles against them.

Why Kubel is still a bit strange.
   9. valuearbitrageur Posted: December 24, 2011 at 02:20 AM (#4022892)
It's quite possible (quite likely in fact) that 2011 aside, that Kubel is a significantly better hitter than Parra...


Parra will still be 24 at the start of this season. While it's likely Kubel will be the more valuable hitter the new two years, probably not by a great deal.

And it's almost a lock that forcing Kubel to play full time outfield for the first time ever in his career will mean his glove will give back more extra runs than his bat creates (over Parra).

eah, if everyone's healthy all year it seems like a waste to sign Kubel and have him cutting into Parra's playing time, but how often does a team get through the season healthy?


Rarely, but signing a DH with creaky knees who has never played more than half a season in the field for $15M is nearly the worst possible solution to that problem.

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