The Yankees have acquired Austin Kearns from the Indians for a player to be named later or cash, so says Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman. The identity of the PTBNL is “still undetermined” according to Bob Klapisch. Buster Olney says the Yanks are already hard at work on their next deal, presumably for a utility infielder but don’t rule out bullpen help.
Kearns started in leftfield for the Indians on Friday night, but was lifted for a pinch-runner after singling in the 7th inning. After a big time start (.313/.388/.494 through June 7th), the 30-year-old has cooled off considerably over the last several weeks (.212/.305/.311 since). The Yanks were reportedly looking for an outfield bat that can hit lefties, and Kearns fits the bill (.353 wOBA vs. LHP career, .339 vs. RHP). It’s also worth noting that he’s a stud defensively in rightfield with three-year UZR of +11.4, but he’s a bit below average in left (-2.1) and hasn’t played much center in recent years.
There’s only $278,000 left on his contract this season, and he isn’t close to being any kind of compensation free agent once the winter rolls around. I don’t expect much, but he’s an upgrade over Colin Curtis.