Since I have 4 hours before my flight leaves I figure I would post what I know about the Trade and fill in the blanks with what I am almost certain.
Kearns wore out his welcome. Likeable guy but not accountable. He has not, and probably will not, reach his big league potential. Sure O'Brien dogged him last year. With good reason. He missed extra hitting sessions (Philadelphia, NY), his shoulder rehab could have gone a lot better and his extra poundage was costing him. Not the way you want to please the Manager or FO.
Austin has a hitch in his swing that you could shove Adam Dunn through. Fortunately for him he has great hand speed and enough strength to make it work, most of the time. In baseball you hit the bottom half of the ball by staying strong THROUGH the ball. Austin hit the top half of the ball while dipping like a softballer. Austin was to 3B what Casey is to 2B. Fastball in or down = Ground ball to 3B or SS. Hard breaking ball away = Foul ball or pop up to 1B. Like I was saying, great fortune and hand speed allowed him to get ahead of enough balls to get some quality hits. What was impressive was the OPPO Home runs. To shear a fastball away out of the park they way he did requires some serious skill. Unfortunately that becomes a crutch for a player.
BEYOND the mechanical issues is the fact that he WOULD NOT correct any part of his swing. And I mean NEVER EVER. The swing he came to the bigs with was nearly flawless. (Shades of Molitor) His swing last year told the whole story. Put on some weight, lost some hand speed and there you have a .215-.220 swing. Now Chambliss will not have the stress of having to fight with him.
In retrospect Casey was the same way. "I'm hitting (*avg) so why would I work on this"? Heard it myself from them both in years passed. Great guys. But they just wanted to stay with what they had. Casey had a little more lead on that leash as he did a great job pounding breaking balls. Little easier since he as a LH hitter.
I could go on about Austin's lack of closing speed in the OF this season, how he can not get to balls to his right and the fact that only 1 out of 5 throws are on line or make it to the bag. But then I will get accused of picking on Austin when in fact I am just putting the facts out there. I know the real story, I have the facts and I'm not some Fantasy baseball guy that thinks the Mets will give us Pedro for Freel and Claussen.
I know for an absolute fact that he was running out of support in the Clubhouse. A lot of guys "LIKE" Austin but did not feel that he was committed to this game. I agree and made mention of this last season and was blasted on this board for telling the truth. I saw Austin in Louisville twice this off season and looked him in the eye to tell him what I thought and what I heard. No screaming, no carrying on. You have to remember I spent A LOT of time with these guys for almost 3 years. I told him he should be starting in RF in every AS game from 2006 on... he liked hearing that but did not want to follow the rest of the conversation about accountability. Austin is like a Ferrari Enzo that has water damage to the interior. Everybody walks up to it and goes "WOW, man that car is AWESOME", "I'd give my right arm for that car". True it is beautiful, it runs fast, smooth gets a lot of looks but you are only seeing it from the outside. Then you tell someone you want to trade it for two nice Cadillacs. "Oh Man, you're crazy!!! You're an idiot" Who's the idiot that wants to drive a Ferrari that stinks like swamp water? Jim Bowden?
The Braves were interested in Kearns. They took him off their board after doing some due diligence. What does that tell you?
Felipe Lopez. A real shame to see him go. This is a guy who works hard at the game. He takes this game seriously. Unfortunately he has a very difficult time becoming consistent. When the trade for Castro was made it was mainly doen to HELP Lopez. It did. I have several game notes and have asked for others on Lopez before and after the trade. I also had a few Tivo games that I watched just to see if the notes were dead on. They were. Prior to Castro coming over Lopez had SIGNIFICANT trouble with is footwork, glove postioning and throwing angle. Watch some old footage of him. Routine groundball comes right to him he would STOP, separate and then get his feet going. No can do. In order to make a quick throw he would get caught with his feet together and end up with a high throw OR a taling throw. Something Reds fans have seen far too much of. It's not like Bucky Dent was not working with him. Feverish would be the word that comes to mind. For whatever reason, they just could not get on the same page. No one to blame, it just happens sometimes. Unfortunately it happened to the SS. Castro comes aboard. Castro, Lopez and Dent spend HOURS working together and whhaaalah. Lopez is now settling through the ball, footwork is timed and MOST IMPORTANT he is throwing over the top and right on the bag. Not to say he didn't make an error or is never going to make one again. He's just more consistent and has a better base to work with. His biggest fielding problem still remains the ball over the mound coming across the middle. He'll get it.
Hitting wise... He has the stick. His stroke is there. If you gave Kearns Lopez's stroke, Kearns would be hitting .330. Lopez approach seems to be killing him. He consistently hit in the hole and the best pitches had already gone by. Even Gwynn and Boggs would have trouble hitting that way. It's ok to hit that good fastball early in the count.
I'm really proud of Krivsky. He knows EXACTLY what he is doing. I have read a lot of comments on this board that are mind numbing. Not that I do not understand that fans have a right to voice their opinions. I'm exercising mine now. What I do not get is this "promise of tomorrow" stuff. I was reading and article about Kearns today that really just skipped over all the facts. They showed numbers with him averaging out at 600 AB's? Are you kidding me? He hasn't even made it to 120 games OR 400 AB's in a season. That's not a fluke. That is a fact. His best season was his first season and he has not made ANY adjustments since! Austin Kearns is not a superstar! If he's your favorite player that's perfectly fine. Mine growing up was Tracy Jones (I know, I Know... I was 11 years old) If you pinned your dreams and hopes onto the back of his uniform, folks you pinned them onto the wrong guy. I drank some of the same Kool Aid until I got to know Austin. I got to see how he went about his business and perfected his craft. You need to find another object of affection.
BTW, playing the game the "Right Way" wins games Championships! Ask the 87-92 A's or the 70-78 Reds. ALL of those teams played Championship caliber baseball. Any ONE of those guys will tell you they themselves would be good individaully but possibly not GREAT unless they had the type of teammates they had around them. The A's more so than the Reds. The A's got more out of less talent where as the Reds meshed great talent to become a true Dynasty. The "right way" is hitting the ball the other way with a man on first, stealing bases, working counts, knowing EXACTLY what to do with the baseball in all situations, etc... When your team is losing you pick each other up and hold someone including yourself accountable. I could probably go on until midnight about playing baseball the right way. Fewer and fewer ballplayers do what is necessary to win. They leave it to chance. Krivsky isn't leaving this season to chance. He's doing things the right way.
Krivksy is one of the best evaluators in the game. Hands down. I wish I had a fifth of his talent. In Wayne you should trust.