And you thought they Indians weren’t going to make a free agent splash. They just did: Austin Kearns:
Meet the new Indians right-handed hitting outfielder, same as the Indians old right-handed hitting outfielder. Austin Kearns is back. Kearns, who won a job with the Indians last spring training, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Tribe today. It’s the first free agent the Indians have signed to a big-league deal this winter.
Well, “splash” may be relative here. The Indians have their hands full bringing back their beer vendors on the payroll and fans next season, so bringing back any free agent was somewhat unexpected.
That said, Kearns is a useful player. He hit .263/.351/.395 in 461 plate appearances for the Indians and Yankees in 2010 and has always hit lefties pretty darn well. He’s also an excellent outfielder. There were certainly teams who would have been interested in him had the Tribe not enticed him to come back.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants have traded left-hander Matt Moore to the Rangers. The deal is pending a physical and has yet to be confirmed by the clubs. Shea adds that the Rangers are expected to receive several prospects in return.
Moore, 28, was brought over to the Giants in 2016 in a deadline swap for shortstop Matt Duffy and two minor leaguers. He went 6-15 in his first full season with the Giants, producing a 5.52 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 32 starts and 174 1/3 innings in 2017. Moore stands to earn $9 million in 2018 and has a $10 million club option (and $1 million buyout) on his contract in 2019.
According to both Shea and Henry Schulman, the move is part of the Giants’ ongoing quest to shed payroll this offseason. After missing out on Giancarlo Stanton, the club still needs reinforcements in the outfield and will have to fill a void at third base as well — all while steering clear of the luxury tax threshold. Right fielder Hunter Pence has reportedly been floated as a trade option, but has a full no-trade clause and will likely be harder to move. The Rangers, meanwhile, will add Moore to a starting rotation that already boasts left-handers Cole Hamels, Mike Minor and Martin Perez.