Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Indians Temporarily Emerge From Hiberation - Sign Kearns

... Immediately return to hibernation.

Ok, that's not fair. We knew going into this off season that the Indians were going to have quite a bit less payroll flexibility than they had in 2010. Intuitively, we also knew that meant that significant free agent acquisitions were unlikely. Fear not though Indians fans, while other teams are handing out what I generally consider to be insane contracts to players entering (or already into) their decline years, the best free agent signings are typically made during the last couple months. Furthermore, they're generally deals of little overall value.

Need examples?

In signing Austin Kearns to be their 4th outfielder, the Indians have not only solidified their outfield for 2011 - they've also gained some measure of isolation against Michael Brantley having a repeat of his disappointing 2010 season. While Brantley was awful at the plate (.284 wOBA) he was similarly poor in the field. Kearns, by contrast has been a plus defender throughout his career and showed in 2010 that he can still be somewhat effective at the plate.

Most importantly, the signing ran the team just 1.3m - something Kearns and his 1.5 WAR in 2010 more than justified.

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