After news of the incident somehow remained silent for three weeks, the Indians announced today that Austin Kearns was arrested in Kentucky on February 12 and charged with a DUI.
Asked why he didn’t tell the Indians about the arrest and instead let them find out only after it was published in a Kentucky newspaper, Kearns said it was “the advice I was given.”
According to the police report Kearns was “flashing his headlights and weaving” and told the arresting officer that he’d consumed “a couple bourbon and cokes” at a local bar. He refused to take a field sobriety test and allegedly “advised that he played professional baseball and asked if I could cut him a break.”
He has a court date scheduled for March 10, but Kearns told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he won’t have to leave Indians camp to attend the hearing. Kearns declined to comment on the case, but indicated that this is the first time he’s been charged with a DUI.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.
The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.
Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.
As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.