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MLB Trade Rumors: Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena

Awful Reds GM Dan O'Brien finally caught up today, realizing that he had a surplus of outfielders about a year after most casual baseball fans.  Will he trade the right one?

Almost certainly not. The Cincinnati media seems to have helped O'Brien narrow the trade candidates to Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena.  In reality, dumping Ken Griffey Jr. for any formidable prospect would've been a major win for the Reds.  If the rumored White Sox offer of Brandon McCarthy and Chris Young for Griffey was true, the Reds missed a huge opportunity.  I'd pull the trigger for just one of the two.  Young could approximate Griffey's production by 2007. 

But it seems the Reds want to hold onto Griffey and wait for his next devastating injury.  Hopefully, O'Brien will have the common sense to look past Adam Dunn's batting average and strikeouts and realize that he's a franchise player.  If it comes down to Kearns and Pena, which should O'Brien deal?

Wily Mo Pena had a disappointing 2005, hitting .254 with 19 home runs and a terrible .304 OBP.  Nagging injuries followed Pena this year.  Even in limited playing time, Pena's awesome power was evident. 


It's very possible he'll be a 40 HR guy for many years to come.  The poor plate discipline and burgeoning power...Pena looks a lot like a young Sammy Sosa.  Pena boasts Albert Belle, George Foster, and Dale Murphy as other comparables.  Former Sosa hitting coach Jeff Pentland is out of work; the Reds should bring him in as a consultant and hang on to Pena.   

Austin Kearns hit .240 with 18 home runs and an average .333 OBP this season.  This was disappointing to Reds management but should have been expected.  Kearns is still living off his flukey 2002, when he hit .315.  Kearns can still be a very good player one day, but he doesn't have quite the superstar potential of Pena. 

Similar to Michael Barrett getting out of Montreal, a change of scenery could actually help Kearns realize his potential.  The Reds should deal him to Oakland for Barry Zito.  If everything falls into place on the West Coast, Kearns could become Lance Berkman on the high end.  If things don't work out, you're probably looking at another Ron Swoboda.  Either way, the Reds should extract some affordable pitching before Kearns's market value declines further.

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