Indians Sign Austin Kearns
By Tim Dierkes [January 5 at 10:35am CST]
The Indians signed outfielder Austin Kearns to a minor league deal, according to a team press release.
Kearns, 30 in May, hit .195/.336/.305 in 211 plate appearances for the Nationals this year, logging 363 innings in right field. He had thumb surgery in August, ending his season. The Nats predictably declined Kearns' $10MM club option after the season, finishing a three-year, $17.5MM extension given by Jim Bowden in January of '07. Bowden's July '06 acquisition of Kearns, Felipe Lopez, and Ryan Wagner from the Reds for Bill Bray, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris, Gary Majewski, and Daryl Thompson was seen as a masterstroke at the time.
Kearns has been lousy offensively the last two years, though his right field defense remains a plus. It's a decent no-risk pickup for the Tribe, who also added Shelley Duncan yesterday.