Re: Reds keeping Kearns as part of the solution
I truly do question the wisdom of all this.
If they're fielding offers for Kearns right now and names are coming up like Jake Westbrook and Matt Clement, there were probably even better names floating around during the winter meetings and prior to the start of free agency. Now, with all the teams pretty much set into their lineups, it's only a few teams bidding against one another as opposed to many teams all looking to add players at various position. Despite that, this still might be their best chance to get return on Kearns.
All of this trade talk with Kearns revolves around his "potential" to develop into an all-star calibur outfielder. That "potential" isn't a limitless commodity; the tag tarnishes with every passing season (Hell, every passing month) where he plays below an acceptable level. If he goes out this season and has another mediocre year, the number of teams willing to buy into "potential" dwindles even further.
We'll have to see how the season plays out, but Kullman is setting himself up to look like either a genius (if Kearns goes out and returns to his rookie form, where he was posting a plus-.900 OPS and absolutely raking the ball) or just a continuation of the O'Brien regime, unable to strike quickly enough to get value for talent. Either way, this is a big season for Austin Kearns and the Reds stake in him (either as trade bait or as an offensive and defensive anchor).
If I'm Kullman, I send him somewhere with a film room and a batting cage and tell him to start figuring out how to hit the hard, inside stuff that pitchers have been feeding him for the past two years.
23 Years and Counting...