So the Indians finally decided to make a move. It’s about damn time. Unfortunately I can’t exactly say I’m excited. This is like Russell Branyan 2.0.
For those who haven’t heard by now, the Indians signed free agent outfielder Austin Kearns to a 1 year $1.3 million dollar contract. In related news, I’m rushing down to the team shop after work to get myself a new Austin Kearns jersey. That’s how excited I am about this move.
Can you sense the overwhelming amount of sarcasm dripping from those statements? If you can’t, I’m willing to lay it on a little thicker.
Anyways, the Indians resigned Kearns, the very same player they traded away to the Yankees last year at the trading deadline. Now I’ll admit, while this isn’t necessarily a glamorous signing that’s going to make any big difference in the Tribe’s record, it’s not necessarily a bad signing. Kearns produced last year for the Indians and still has some gas left in the tank. At the price of $1.3 million it’s also not an expensive signing. It gives the Indians a right-handed bat with some power and also provides them with a trade chip come July. If Kearns has another solid year there’s no reason why the Indians couldn’t trade him away again to acquire more prospects much like they did with Russell Branyan last season.
Of course the bottom line is this wasn’t a move being made in an attempt to put a winning product on the field. It was meant to further ensure financial flexibility, whatever that means, and to help keep the Indians options open, for what, who know. If the Indians were a contending team this move might make more sense, but they aren’t. So while Antonetti, Shapiro, and Acta will come out and say that they like how hard Kearns works, the leadership he brings to a young team, and the things he did for them the first half of last year let’s say what it really is, window dressing. This move doesn’t address the fundamental flaws of the organization. It merely attempts to mask them and even then it isn’t successful. If anything this move exposes ownership and the front office while attempting to make the fans look like saps.
All in all this is just the first of the annual bottom of the barrel signings the Indians will make leading up to spring training. We’ll get the annual spin about how these are great moves that will help get the Indians moving in the right direction. We’ll see if they’re right. One thing I know is that the ownership shouldn’t be surprised when the Indians finish dead last in attendance this year, because you know what? I won’t be surprised when they finish dead last in the division.