Along with pouring cold water on a possible swap of the White Sox’s Brian Anderson and Brandon McCarthy for SF’s Jason Schmidt, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal claims the Nationals’ acquisition of Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez yesterday, ” increases the likelihood that the Nats will trade left fielder Alfonso Soriano ” assuming, of course, that they keep Kearns and Lopez.”

Kearns is earning $1.85 million and Lopez $2.7 million this season. Their salaries will take significant jumps in arbitration in each of the next two seasons, making it more difficult to retain Alfonso Soriano, a potential free agent, with a lucrative contract.

Kearns and Lopez, both 26, are eligible for free agency after the 2008 season. Knowing that the Nationals want to restock with young, inexpensive players, five teams expressed immediate trade interest in Kearns and two in Lopez.

“I worked hard to get them. My intent is to keep them; they fit into our long-term plans,” Bowden said. “But I have to listen. I always have and I always will. That’s my job, to do due diligence.”

The Yankees and Tigers are among the teams pursuing Soriano, and the Giants and A’s also are possible suitors. The Angels, the team that is perhaps the most logical fit for Soriano, are not believed to be among the leading contenders.

The Yankees also have shown interest in Nationals right fielder Jose Guillen, and are “all over” Phillies right fielder Bobby Abreu, according to a major-league source.

To get Soriano, the Yankees likely would need to part with Class AA right-hander Philip Hughes or Class A outfielder Jose Tabata, both of whom appeared in the Futures Game.

The Hardball Times’ Paul Bunyan-hating Aaron Gleeman says “there’s zero hindsight needed to know that (yesterday’s 8-player trade) was a colossal mistake” for the Reds, going so far as to compare it to the Mets’ fateful Kazmir-for-Zambrano swap.

The best-case scenario for the Reds is that Majewski and Bray help stabilize what has been a brutal bullpen, the Clayton-Castro duo offsets some of the offense lost by providing better defense than Lopez, and Harris and Thompson develop into useful role players. Unfortunately, competent middle relief isn’t really something to pay a premium for, there’s little to suggest that Clayton and Castro are quality defenders despite what their long-expired reputations might have you believe, and Kearns and Lopez are good enough to make the deal look horrible even if everything breaks right for Cincinnati.