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.
This is happening, people.
Earlier we heard Joe Maddon being non-committal about Kyle Schwarber joining the Cubs for the World Series. Now it seems pretty clear that the Cubs are committal indeed: Jon Morosi reports that Schwarber is en route to Cleveland from Arizona on a private jet and that he’s expected to DH in Game 1 tomorrow night.
Schwarber hasn’t played in a game that counted since April 7. His potent bat is could be a windfall for a Cubs team that didn’t have a game-changing option at DH in the American League park.
Schwarber lost the whole season due to a knee injury, but he hit .246/.355/.487 with 16 homers and 43 RBI in 69 games as a rookie in 2015. His big coming out party was in the playoffs, however, when he hit three homers in five postseason games while going 7-for-13 with two walks in five games.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Indians First Baseman/DH Carlos Santana shagged some flyballs in left field during the Indians’ workout today.
Sure, why not? Santana has played one game in the outfield in his major league career and that was over four years ago, but the Indians will have to play in Chicago without the DH, meaning either losing Santana’s bat or that of Mike Napoli.
It would be up to Terry Francona to decide if that happens, but ultimately I don’t think he’ll make it real and, rather, will just forget about it, because Santana’s defense out there would in no way be smooth.
I’m sorry. I’m sick today and I’m on a lot of cold medicine.