Why Isn't The Austin Kearns Experiment Ending?

Anthony EmersonAnalyst IAugust 15, 2009

DENVER - JULY 08:  Rightfielder Austin Kearns #25 of the Washington Nationals tracks down a fly ball against the Colorado Rockies during MLB action at Coors Field on July 8, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Nationals 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

In a crowded Washington Nationals outfield, Kearns doesn't fit in. The oft-injured 29-year-old was acquired by the Nats in 2006, and since then, Kearns has been hitting .240 with 36 home runs and 159 RBI. Not the numbers the Nationals expected.

With an outfield filled up with Josh Willingham, Nyjer Morgan, Elijah Dukes and Willie Harris, there seems to be no room for Kearns.

Compare Kearns' Nationals stats to his Cincinnati Reds ones: With the Reds, Kearns hit 71 home runs with RBI and an average of .266 and 213 RBI. A huge drop off since joining the Nationals.

And now, MLB Trade Rumors has reported that Nationals had ample time to shed the outfielder's contract.

This begs the question: What does Mike Rizzo see in Austin Kearns?

Kearns hasn't been the middle-of-the-lineup force the Nationals expected him to be. If I was Rizzo, and that unknown team called me up saying "We're interested in Kearns", I would've packed his bags myself.

Even if he Kearns was injured at the time, I still wouldn't have placed him on the DL, and let te team who claimed Kearns deal with his 'injury'.

Kearns shouldn't be part of the Nationals long term idea for the team. And if he is, God help the Nationals.