Kubel appears to be off to Arizona

The Twins had hoped to bring back the lefthanded-hitting outfielder, but it's being reported this morning that he will go to Arizona.

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Jason Kubel drove in 103 runs for the Twins in 2009 and 92 in 2010; things were going well in 2011, too, until he hurt his foot.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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UPDATE: CBSsports.com is reporting this morning that Jason Kubel has reached an agreement with Arizona on a two-year deal worth $15 million, pending a physical exam.

Also, Ken Rosenthal of FOXsports.com is reporting that the contract will include an option for 2014 and the Diamondbacks expect Kubel to play left field.

Jason Kubel sounded like someone who knows his career with the Twins is over.

''It's a great organization and still is," Kubel said Sunday. ''I've had a lot of fun. I loved the front office, the staff and the fans."

The 29-year-old free agent is closing in on a deal this week with another club, seemingly leaving the Twins with a 2012 outfield of Ben Revere, Denard Span and recent free-agent signee Josh Willingham.

Should Kubel depart, he would be the third long-time Twins player to leave as a free agent this offseason, joining closer Joe Nathan (Texas) and outfielder Michael Cuddyer (Colorado).

''I will say that we have talked to a lot of teams, and we are close," said Kubel, who was drafted by the Twins in 2000 and made his major league debut in 2004. He has hit .271 with 104 home runs in 753 games with the Twins.

The Twins had increased their efforts to re-sign Kubel last week as they added Willingham from Oakland before seeing Cuddyer depart as a free agent.

The Twins let it be known that retaining Cuddyer was their first choice. When he agreed to terms with Colorado on Friday, word leaked that the Twins then looked into bringing Kubel back.

With the lefthanded-hitting Kubel still around, Willingham presumably would start in left, where he has admitted he is more comfortable, and Kubel would start in right.

Now it appears that Revere will start in left with Willingham in right, unless the Twins have something else in mind, such as playing Revere in center field and putting Span in right. Signing Willingham was important because he's a righthanded hitter on a team that has been heavily lefthanded in recent years and that no longer has Cuddyer or Delmon Young.

Kubel declined to say where he might land. Reports over the weekend linked him to Cincinnati.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan on Sunday admitted that signing Kubel this far into the offseason was a long shot.

''Signing Kubel wasn't impossible but improbable," Ryan said, "because of where they were at in the negotiations."

Kubel hit .273 with 12 homers and 58 RBI in 99 games last season. He was the Twins' top offensive player the first two months of the season, but after injuring his left foot May 30 he missed nearly two months and hit only .229 in 47 games after returning.

Ryan said that finding pitching, either a starter or reliever, remains a priority. How's that coming?

''That's a good question," Ryan said. ''We continue to search for it and see if we can bring in a starter or reliever or both."

According to FOX Sports, the Twins are looking at lefthander Jeff Francis and righthanders Joel Pineiro and Jon Garland as possible veteran starting options.

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