07/13/2006 3:32 PM ET
Nationals acquire Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner as part of eight-player deal with Cincinnati
The Washington Nationals today acquired outfielder Austin Kearns, shortstop Felipe Lopez and right-handed pitcher Ryan Wagner from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for right-handed pitcher Gary Majewski, left-handed pitcher Bill Bray, infielder Brendan Harris, shortstop Royce Clayton and right-handed pitcher Daryl Thompson. Nationals Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcement.
Kearns, Lopez and Wagner are former first-round selections-none of whom is older than 26 years-old. Kearns and Lopez are expected to join the club tomorrow at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, as the Nationals kick off the season's second half with the first of three games against Pirates. Wagner will be optioned to New Orleans of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
Kearns, 26, was hitting .274 (89-for-325) with 21 doubles, 16 home runs and 50 RBI in 87 games for Cincinnati at the time of the trade. Currently in his fifth big league season, Kearns is a career .267 hitter (426-for-1593) with 92 doubles, 71 homers and 263 RBI in 452 games with the Reds.
Kearns-who currently stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 245 lbs.-was tabbed as the Reds' top selection (seventh overall) in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft. In 2002, Kearns hit .315 with 24 doubles, 13 home runs and 56 RBI in 107 games for the Reds and finished third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting.
Since arriving in the big leagues in 2002, Kearns' 71 home runs rank third among Reds. Only Adam Dunn (167) and Ken Griffey Jr. (94) have hit more. Kearns, however, offers more than power, as his .358 on-base percentage indicates. Kearns' career has been well chronicled since he was named Reds Minor League Player of the Year following the 2000 campaign. Since then Kearns was named Cincinnati's No. 1 prospect entering both the 2001 and 2002 seasons, and in 2003, he garnered the Joe Nuxhall Good Guys Award, which is given annually by the Cincinnati Chapter of the BBWAA.
Lopez, 26, was batting .268 with 14 doubles, nine home runs, 30 RBI and a career-high 23 stolen bases in 85 games for the Reds at the time of the trade. Lopez is currently on pace to establish career highs in walks, stolen bases and runs scored. Currently tied for fourth in the NL in stolen bases, Lopez's 47 walks pace all NL shortstops, and his nine home runs are tied for 2nd among NL shortstops behind only Khalil Greene (12).
A career .259 hitter (477-for-1843) with 93 doubles, 17 triples, 54 home runs, 216 RBI and 56 stolen bases in 505 career games, Lopez is coming off his finest offensive season. Last season, at the age of 25, Lopez hit .291 with 34 doubles, five triples, 23 home runs, 85 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 148 games. For his efforts, Lopez earned his first Silver Slugger award, given annually to the league's top offensive shortstop. He also earned a spot on his first NL All-Star team.
Originally Toronto's first-round (eighth overall) selection in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, Lopez was acquired by the Reds as part of a December 15, 2002 four-team deal that sent, among others, Elmer Dessens to Arizona and Erubiel Durazo to Oakland. Lopez-who hails from Bayamon, PR-will form an all-Puerto Rican double-play combination with Nationals second-baseman Jose Vidro (Mayaguez, PR).
Wagner, 23, was Cincinnati's first-round selection (14th overall) in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. The University of Houston alum later became the first player from the 2003 Draft to appear in the big leagues (edging current Nationals closer Chad Cordero for the distinction), and the first Reds top pick to debut in the big leagues the season he was drafted. Wagner justified his position on the fast track by posting a 1.66 ERA in 17 games for Cincinnati as a rookie in 2003.
Wagner is 8-4 with 26 holds and a 4.69 ERA (62 ER/119.0 IP) in 108 games spanning three big league seasons. He was pitching for Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League at the time of the trade.
With a roster spot opened up with the trade, the Nationals are expected to purchase the contract of right-handed pitcher Roy Corcoran from New Orleans. Corcoran, 26, is currently 2-3 with seven saves and a 2.45 ERA in 16 Pacific Coast League contests this season. He has posted a batting average against of .169 and fanned 11.8 batters per 9.0 innings since being promoted from Double-A in early June.