PHILADELPHIA -- With less than two days remaining until Sunday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Pirates have their eyes on a number of position players who could provide an offensive boost. One of them, a source confirmed to MLB.com, is Minnesota's Jason Kubel.
The Pirates have strong interest in Kubel, but they have to wait until the Twins determine whether the outfielder/designated hitter is even available. The Twins are 6 1/2 games back in the American League Central, and they would have to leapfrog three clubs to move to the top of the division.
The source noted that if the Twins are willing to deal Kubel, it would cost the Pirates some prospects. It wouldn't, however, likely require the Bucs to part with their top tier of prospects, which the organization is hesitant to do.
Kubel would be able to slot into the Pirates' lineup as an everyday right fielder. Though the 29-year-old wouldn't be a defensive upgrade, he would bolster the lineup.
A sprained left foot cost Kubel nearly two months this season. He returned from the disabled list on July 22 and had eight hits in his first 27 at-bats back. Overall, Kubel has hit .308 with 15 doubles, six homers and 36 RBIs. Those numbers have come in just 59 games played.
In comparison, Pirates right fielders have hit .248 with 20 doubles, 10 homers and 43 RBIs in 103 games this season.
In parts of seven seasons, all of which have come in Minnesota, Kubel has hit .274. His best year came in 2009, when Kubel hit .300 with 28 homers and 103 RBIs.
Kubel, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is making $5.25 million this year. The Pirates would have to pick up the remaining portion due to him. It is not known who in the Pirates' farm system the Twins would covet in return.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.