UPDATE: The Washington Post says Kearns is unlikely to be traded and that the Nats will start the season with four outfielders. I guess it’s one thing to hope for Elijah Dukes to stay on the field, but it’s another thing to count on it.
I’ve been refreshing MLB Trade Rumors every hour on the hour, just like the rest of you. And it’s the same names over and over: Bedard, Santana, Jones and Cabrera.
But one name I haven’t heard, and I don’t know why, is Austin Kearns.
Langerhans isn’t a candidate to start. He’ll most likely serve as the team’s reserve outfielder. But Wily Mo, Elijah and Lastings are all young guys who are still developing and need quality minutes.
There is no place to put Kearns, other than the outfield. Third base is being manned by potential all-star Ryan Zimmerman and first base is taken by Dmitri Young, who just signed an extension at the end of the season and is even more valuable now, since he’s been given the task of mentoring/monitoring Dukes.
So where does that leave Kearns?
Are the Nationals going to bring four outfielders (and Langerhans) to camp and let them fight it out?
There’s a reason I’m not a major league GM (the man has been keeping me down), but I suspect there is a market out there for Kearns, who probably should have won the gold glove this season, and who had an OBP of .355 and stole 24 bases. He only hit 16 homers in 2007, but RFK is/was a pitchers park. Kearns has hit as many as 24 in past seasons.
Kearns agreed to a three year extension with the Nats prior to last season. In 2008 he’ll make $5 million. In 2009 he’ll make $8 million.
Does anybody know anything I don’t? Is Kearns being shopped? Or are the Nationals going to let Milledge, Dukes, Kearns and Pena slug it out?