With the clock ticking on the Washington Nationals' attempt to sign top pick Stephen Strasburg, the Nats appeared to have lost the chance to come up with another $3.4 million in savings they could have put toward signing him. According to a major league source, when the Nats put ineffective outfielder Austin Kearns through waivers, another club actually put in a claim for him. Kearns is due the remainder of his $8 million salary this year and a $1 million buyout of his $10 million option for 2010. Kearns is hitting .195 this year and .209 over the past two seasons.
The Nationals could simply have "awarded" Kearns to the claiming team to get out from under the contract, Alex Rios style. But just as Kearns was getting claimed, the Nationals placed him on the disabled list on Aug. 5, retroactive to Aug. 4, with a thumb injury. Once on the DL, Kearns could not be claimed, the source said. "I don't think it's the difference between signing Strasburg or not," the source said of the $3.4 million, "but it couldn't have hurt." - Tom Verducci
Who the hell claimed Austin Kearns?