With the acquisition of Nyjer Morgan, it was obvious that the Nationals needed to make a corresponding roster move. The clear choice was to get rid of an outfielder to help ease the logjam created by the Morgan acquisition.
The question then became, which outfielder would the Nationals get rid of?
To me, the choice was Austin Kearns, who is by far the worst outfielder on the Nationals. At one point, Kearns was a highly touted prospect, who seemed to have a bright future ahead of him. But this season, Kearns is only hitting .197 with 3 HR. The only thing keeping Kearns in the majors at this point is his contract, which runs out after this season.
Instead, the Nationals decided to option Elijah Dukes, a troubled but talented OF, to AAA. It's hard to kill the Nationals for this decision because Dukes needs to play everyday and clearly needs more seasoning. Some time in AAA will be good for Dukes, provided that he works hard on improving his game.
With that said, I think GM Mike Rizzo needs to release Kearns. This guy has no future with the organization and for a rebuilding club like the Nationals, Kearns is simply taking up a roster spot that could be better used if given to someone else.
The new Nationals management is said to value production over potential, but not releasing Kearns goes against that notion. For more than two years, Kearns has not been a productive player. And at 29 years old, Kearns is what he is-a struggling outfielder, who has lost the ability to hit.
I don't see the value of keeping him on the roster.