Has anyone heard about this?

Google Search: furcal kearns “trade rumor”

Somebody came here searching for this. On the Reds’ level it makes sense, because they don’t really have a shortstop. But if the Braves traded Furcal they really wouldn’t have one either, and with Chipper already a liability at third I don’t think they’d even consider going with someone like Betemit, Green, or Orr in Furcal’s place. Personally, I’d probably risk it, but I’m not as high on Furcal as others.

36 thoughts on “Has anyone heard about this?”

  1. Unless the Reds are offering more than just Kearns, I’d say we can get more for Furcal elsewhere. Kearns’ skills are a lot easier replaced than Furcal’s skills, and Kearns is currently on the low end of his career trade value, while Furcal’s value is likely still on the rise. I’d feel much better if the Braves jettisoned Horacio Ramirez for Kearns and held on to Furcal at least until they have a suitable replacement at SS.

  2. On the plus side, Kearns is still cheap and would be under our control for 3 more years. On the minus side, who the hell is going to play short? Tony Pena Jr? If we did this and had signed Dave Eckstein, might have been a nice move, but why fill one void by creating another?

  3. I don’t think it makes sense for the Reds (unless they mistakenly believe they can compete), since Furcal is a FA after this year. I can’t see them re-signing him, so they’d get one inconsequential year of Furcal for 3 years of Kearns. I can’t see that happening.

  4. I don’t see this trade as very likely. Our outfield fill ins are better than an SS fill in we could copme up with if we made that trade. There’s no reason to switch holes from OF to SS.

    Mark Bowman thinks we’re going to sign Jordan. I’m not as down on that as some of you guys, but I don’t know how much I like it either.

  5. Like I said, I’d risk it.

    1. I think Kearns is going to have a breakout season as soon as he gets out of Cincinnati. Like was the case with Drew, I think his injuries are partly or largely the fault of an incompetent training staff. And when he’s healthy, he’ll hit.

    2. Furcal is probably gone after this season anyway. Some here have already speculated about dealing him before that. Heck, I speculated about it at the nadir of the 2004 season.

    3. I think that the difference between Kearns and Brian Jordan would be far greater than the difference between Furcal and whoever came out of the shortstop derby (I think Orr would probably win it). Furcal’s a good player, but he’s an 800 OPS player. I think Kearns would be a 950 OPS player and might be better.

  6. Here is something to scare the crap out of ya.
    player a .287/.327/.401 OPS 735
    player b .279/.344/.414 OPS 758

    A is Edgar Renteria who just got 10 million per year from the Red Sox! From the statistically minded, Bill James consulted Red Sox. Of course there is no telling whether or not a ‘market correction’ (return to sanity) will occur next season or not. Of course B is Furcal who statistically is better than Renteria.

    Shoot I’d trade Furcal straight up for Kearns. The risk is worth the reward. If Kearns ends up fulfilling his potential (for once someone on this blog isn’t applying those words to Andruw Jones)he is loads better offensively than Raffy.

    I agree that it is easier to find a league average outfielder than an above average short stop but Kearns has the potential to be an impact bat. Not easy to find and usually very expensive.

    I may be the only person in Braves land here that thinks we shoud re sign DeRosa. He can play short and I think that he could put up at least avg numbers offensively.

    Personally I don’t see this deal going down. The Reds have never been good at trading surplus talent for team needs. They usually just do salary dumps and Furcal is going to be pretty expensive in arbitration and as a free agent.

  7. Can anyone come up with a reason for the Devil Rays to trade Aubrey Huff? He is only their best hitter for crying out loud but I have read his name in trade talks too. Heck I’d take him too. They wouldn’t want Furcal but they could always use some pitching. Of course that won’t happen because Lou Piniella is the guy who said ‘Whenever John Schuerholz comes up and starts talking about one of his pitchers in a trade, run away.’ Or something like that.

  8. I’m not sure I understand the obsession with Austin Kearns. So, I did a little research to compare him to one of his most similar players through age 24. (Thanks to baseball-reference for the similarity match)

    Player A: 764 / 880 / 1027
    Player B: 907 / 819 / 730

    Those three numbers are these two players’ OPS numbers from his first three full seasons. Player B as you might have guessed is Kearns, but player A is JD Drew. I remember JD Drew was up for a new contract this past offseason. There haven’t been too many articles written, stating that this is a bad thing — that the Braves let him go, especially considering the contract he got. No, and these thoughts are based more on his past and perceived future injury history. Drew is a high risk player. So, I figured I would compare him to Kearns to see if another often injured player with potential would be worth the risk, at least based on their statistics so far.

    After three full seasons in the majors I believe JD Drew was on a much better career path. His major numbers were up each year across the board. As I have already mentioned his OPS numbers were overwhelming. Homeruns went from 13 to 18 to 27. His strikeout percentage stayed about the same, along with a steady rate of walks.

    BB Ks ABs K/AB BB/AB
    50 77 368 4.78 7.36
    67 99 407 4.11 6.08
    57 75 375 5.00 6.58

    On the other hand, Kearns has exposed a more alarming flaw in recent years — he has lost patience at the plate.

    BB Ks ABs K/AB BB/AB
    54 81 372 4.59 6.89
    41 68 292 4.29 7.12
    28 71 217 3.06 7.75

    Walks are way down per plate appearance (the numbers in the above chart are showing that it took more and more plate appearances between walks) and his strikeouts have steadily risen (plate appearances per strikeout have sharply dropped).

    A good first season in the majors isn’t always a surefire indicator as to how well he will perform in subsequent seasons. (Eric Hinske anyone?) Often times the scounting reports around the majors aren’t complete for a rookie player and it takes a year for pitchers to adjust. After these adjustments occur, it is then on the player to change, too. They say sports aren’t a test of how good a player is but a test to see how able he is to adjust to changes his opponents make in an effort to outperform him. Thusly, each year after a rookie season should be a better judge to his perceived talent than a rookie season.

    In summary, my point is this — Kearns doesn’t seem to be showing hidden “potential” anywhere, or at least if he is it is masked very well in his statistics. I don’t think he’s magically going to start staying healthy, hit, or (re)learn how to be patient at the plate. Yes, he has been injured, and maybe it affected his performance. Having been in and out of the lineup, failing to establish some sort of a rhythm for playing, Kearns may have become impatient at the plate. It’s a gamble, that much is certain, and this is one player I hope the Braves do not gamble on.

  9. I’m on board for getting Kearns as well — I agree with Mac about the injury history and the possibility of a 950 OPS. I hope it wouldn’t cost Furcal, but I understand the opposing view. I dislike any in-house SS options, though. I’d rather pick up Deivi Cruz, as depressing as that sounds.

    Of course, I think we should trade Chipper, but then that’s my solution to everything! ;)

  10. Eric, those numbers you put up actually seem to show more potential in Kearns, at least in my mind. I’m looking at someone who strikes out less and walks more per at bat at a younger age. Maybe the walk rate went down a bit (I’m assuming the top is 2004 for Kearns?), but it was still better than Drew at that age. Kearns has also played in substantially fewer games over the first three years.

  11. Sorry, the top is Drew. Bottom is Kearns.

    After three full seasons in the majors I believe JD Drew was on a much better career path. His major numbers were up each year across the board. As I have already mentioned his OPS numbers were overwhelming. Homeruns went from 13 to 18 to 27. His strikeout percentage stayed about the same, along with a steady rate of walks.

    BB Ks ABs K/AB BB/AB
    50 77 368 4.78 7.36 JD Drew
    67 99 407 4.11 6.08 JD Drew
    57 75 375 5.00 6.58 JD Drew

    On the other hand, Kearns has exposed a more alarming flaw in recent years — he has lost patience at the plate.

    BB Ks ABs K/AB BB/AB
    54 81 372 4.59 6.89 Kearns
    41 68 292 4.29 7.12 Kearns
    28 71 217 3.06 7.75 Kearns

  12. I guess what I was wondering was if top set of numbers was their third season and the bottom their first. If you compare their numbers by age, I think Kearns has an advantage.

    Side note: Has anyone seen the park factors for Cincinatti from the past year? Incredibly, it favored pitchers heavily.

  13. Nah, the most recent season for Kearns is on the bottom.

    BB Ks ABs K/AB BB/AB
    54 81 372 4.59 6.89 Kearns

  14. Eric, thanks for all the data. I agree that Kearns hasn’t matched the young JD Drew in terms of projectible excellence, and he isn’t likely to match Drew’s 2004 season any time soon. Still, I see a lot to like in what he’s done so far. While his BB rate has decreased, it hasn’t been precipitous, and I really do think we can throw away 2004.

    Anyway, he doesn’t have to match Drew. But I think he could post a typical Andruw-type season with 20 extra walks thrown in for good measure, but without the great defense. (In other words, just good enough for everyone to complain about him)

  15. Let’s try that again.

    The most recent season for Kearns is on the bottom.

    BB Ks ABs K/AB BB/AB
    54 81 372 4.59 6.89 Kearns — rookie season.
    41 68 292 4.29 7.12 Kearns
    28 71 217 3.06 7.75 Kearns — most recent.

  16. Okay. I realize now that I was reading the K/AB and BB/AB numbers wrong. Thanks for the clarification.

  17. It might not have been so confusing if the stats had been listed as AB/K and AB/BB instead of the other way around. I was reading the K/AB stat as “strikeouts per at bat” which is how the symbols read. That, of course, makes no sense but I’m an engineer and my mind refused to re-interpret K/AB as AB/K (which is what it really was).

  18. EricW,

    What you have established is that in two injury plagued seasons in which Kearns played about 80 and 60 games, his performance was not good. I think that is a given.

    But in his one season in the majors without significant injury, he put up great numbers. His time in the minors before that has brilliance written all over it as well. Likewise, most advanced defensive metrics show him to be an excellent fielder.

    To me, the question is not whether he is a good hitter, but rather can he be consistently healthy. For what its worth, the Braves have had fairly good, but not great, success in keeping players healthy. I’d gamble that (a) two injuries in two years for Kearns is somewhat fluky and (b) to the degree he is injury prone, the Braves staff could reduce that.

    If we could get him with a package centered around Ramirez plus a non-top 3 prospect, I would do it in an instant. As someone who is very disappointed with Furcal’s lack of development, concerned about his future salary, and angered about his second DUI, I would trade Furcal for Kearns as well.

  19. I wonder what it would take to get Michael Restovich from Minnesota. He hasn’t had much experience at the major league level and is a year older than Kearns, but is blocked and could use an oppurtunity. Certainly not as high ceiling as Kearns either, but less of an injury risk, I’d imagine.

  20. Just to add fuel to the Kearns trade talks, one of Cincinatti’s prospective SSs has been injured though the seriousness has not been determined. I found this article on Google which had this sentence as the lead-in, but was apparently removed from the article at some point:

    “… There had been rumors earlier in the offseason that the Kansas City Royals were interested in acquiring Austin Kearns, and shortstop Andres Blanco may now be … ”

    Take that for whatever it’s worth.

  21. Duluth Star News or something like that: “Restovich is rehabilitating a broken collarbone that has left his spring-training status in question.”

    So there’s that. I guess that’s why they offered arbitration to Jones.

    And yes, I have nothing to do at work right now.

  22. I’ve looked into Kearns’ injury history and found the following:

    2001 – torn thumb ligament
    5/21/2003 – Home plate collision, shoulder tear
    4/26/2004 – HBP, arm fracture
    6/29/2004 – from AP “Kearns, 24, tore a ligament in the thumb in 2001 and missed most of a season in the minors. Kremchek said the ligament is fine, but scar tissue from that injury is causing problems now.”

    The collision and the HBP could have happened to anyone, but if you want to make the argument that they are a reflection of how he plays, and he is thus more likely to sustain similar injuries in the future, I’ll grant the point — I haven’t seen him play enough to know one way or the other. The thumb is a little more concerning — I guess therein lies the risk.

    Given those dates of injury, I endeavored to put together a stat line for a healthy Kearns. So I combined the following numbers:

    All of 2002
    2003 until 5/21
    2004 until 4/26, and also September

    Here are the totals:

    678 AB
    116 R
    199 H
    41 2B
    5 3B
    34 HR
    121 RBI
    97 BB
    170 K

    Now, normalized to a 550 AB season:

    550 AB
    94 R
    161 H
    33 2B
    4 3B
    28 HR
    98 RBI
    79 BB
    138 K

    The rate stats are .294/.382/.519.

    Kearns tried to play through the shoulder tear in ’03 — prior to the injury he was going at a .309/.417/.599 clip. In April of ’04 he was horrible, even before the broken arm (.137/.290/.333). Don’t know if he was still feeling the effects of the shoulder, or if the thumb was already bothering him, but I included it in the above just to be conservative. Eric mentioned his Sept. ’04 stats above. I should also mention his lifetime home/road OPS split of 838/836, so it doesn’t appear that home cooking has played a huge part in his success.

    Bamadan claims that Kearns has an excellent defensive rep, which I didn’t know. So, to sum up, Kearns seems like a 900+ OPS hitter who can play a fine right field, if he can remain healthy. Hey, we can use a guy like that!

  23. I think that the Reds actually used Kearns in center for a time during one of Griffey’s injuries… Yes, he’s played 47 games in center in his career, mostly in 2003, with range factors better than the league. His RFs in RF are also very good, though his assist numbers aren’t so hot.

  24. As a denizen of the North Star State, I can attest that we probably don’t want Restovich. He is, in my estimation, slightly better than Hessman.

    Great kid and a great HS athlete. He was a 3-sport guy who turned down a full-ride from Notre Dame to sign with the Twins. He had a lot of early promise but seems to have plateaued. I was unaware of his injury.

    His main problem at the plate seems to be that his contact goes way down when his power goes up. That soured the Twins’ brass on him this past season. His average seems good enough when he cuts down his swing, but it saps him of all power potential. When he opens up, his K rate zooms.

    He may be a AAAA guy.

  25. If Schuerholz made trades based on potential, the Braves would have not won a single division title. The teams he traded players to made them based on the potential of who the Braves traded, and more often than not, the Braves got the better end of the bargain. Notice, I did not say in every case, so naysayers you have been officially put on notice not to bring up Lofton or a couple of others I am smart enough to recognize.

    If you make trades for someone based on their potential, you are playing Russian Roulette. For that reason I would not trade straight up for Kearns.

  26. bwarrend I would agree that during the halcyon days of 95 million dollar budgets that the Braves usually were the ones acquiring proven major league talent. Neagle, Galarraga, McGriff. Were the ones that worked out. Lofton (he had a good regular season), Boone, Veras didn’t work out so well. But in the teams current financial situation they have recently been acquiring potential. Drew and Wright were potential. Burkett was potential although he had a good track record he had just been cut by the Devil Rays when we acquired him. This is the Braves of 2005 and beyond. Trading Furcal while he still has a lot of value for a potential impact bat is good business.

  27. Drew was a proven talent with injury problems. Wright and Burkett were taken from the scrap heep, and the Braves didn’t give up anything of value to get them (Wright and Burkett). Hudson is a proven talent. The Braves gave up “potential” to the A’s. That’s the point I was making, and it still holds true for the Braves, in spite of the lower payroll. If anything, Schuerholz is even better than he was in the free-spending days. He got Thompson from Texas and he gave up a couple of “who and where are they now” guys.

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  29. Even better. They didn’t give up anything other than maybe a compensatory draft pcik, if that.

  30. Trading Furcal for Kearns makes no sense. Furcal is a premium commodity in MLB. If you trade him get a packet in return. An oft injured outfielder with potential doesn’t fit the bill.

    It could be argued that Furcal has “potential” also.

  31. Kearns had a hole in his thumb, explaining his numbers drop. He is a very patient hitter. I’d much rather see them trade Dunn or Pena. Kearns will be a star if he can stay healty, which he will. Last years injury was freakish and shouldn’t hurt him in the longterm. Kearns has as big an upside as any player in the league. In his limited playing time he has showed this. The Braves would be overjoyed if they get him even if they give up Furcal. I have a feeling something will happen, as i just can’t see them depending on Mondesi or Jordan. I’m a reds fan and i hope they don’t do this. The Braves are stocked with proven talent and if the Reds ever hope to compete they shouldn’t make this trade.

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