Austin Kearns has been a popular name in trading circles these days. It makes sense that he would be, seeing as how he went from a baseball player that most had written off into a good piece for any team looking for a bit of pop in their lineup.
It was just a few months ago that Kearns was signed to a minor league contract by the Tribe and he was not in their season plans originally. Yet, thanks to his determination and the Tribe's lack of offense, he has become a solid hitter, currently hitting .276 with seven home runs and 34 RBI.
His numbers—combined with his one-year, six-figure contract—means that the Indians will trade him at some point before the deadline. Many different clubs have been factored in to trade discussions. In particular the Boston Red Sox are looking for outfield help due to injuries, but they would likely choose David DeJesus over any other players.
Another team that hasn't been brought up much, but who I think would fit very well, is the San Francisco Giants. The NL West is quite competitive, and they fall into the same block as the Padres: great pitching, but lackluster hitting. Putting Kearns in left field and having Andres Torres help out Aaron Rowand would help out big time. His HR and RBI totals would easily lead all outfielders on that team.
That being said, who would the Giants give up to get him, and who would the Tribe want? The Indians could take Triple-A prospect Brett Pill (if Buster Posey remains a first baseman then there's nowhere for Pill on the team) and a pitcher, since the Tribe desperately needs pitching. Likely candidates for that part of the trade are probably Triple-A prospects Eric Hacker, Henry Sosa, or maybe Double-A prospect Daryl Maday.
It remains to be seen if Kearns will continue to play well through July, but if he does, and the Giants are willing to give up a couple Triple-A guys who aren't in their plans, then it will work out for both sides. The Indians want to rebuild and the Giants want to win, so I would like to see this trade happen. Maybe the Giants don't want Kearns, but I still think that he would be a fine addition to their team.