Berkman lands in St. Louis

Open Thread: The Brackmonster turns 25
The Tough Get Tougher

Lance Berkman wasn’t a Yankee for too long, and many fans didn’t warm up the mid-season acquisition. He was a fine role player though and cost the club only Mark Melancon and some dollars. We knew he wouldn’t stick around the Bronx, and since he made $14.5 million in 2010, the Yanks weren’t going to offer the Type B free agent arbitration. Today, we learn that Berkman has landed in St. Louis.

The Cardinals will pay him $8 million for the 2011 season, and what makes this signing somewhat strange is the Cardinals’ plan for the the erstwhile DH. The Cardinals, you see, plan to use Berkman in left field. As Zach Links wrote at MLBTR, “The 34-year-old last played in the outfield in 2007, and he owns an ugly -2.1 UZR/150 for his career, with most of his work coming in right field.”

Open Thread: The Brackmonster turns 25
The Tough Get Tougher
  • JGS

    -2.1 isn’t that ugly, but he hasn’t been a regular outfielder since 2004.

    This has Youkilis-in-left-field potential, doesn’t it.

    • Ed

      I wouldn’t consider -2.1 ugly at all. Based on this year’s leaderboard, that’s about the 43rd percentile, so he’s not that much below average.

      I wouldn’t call things ugly until you’re getting around double digits. The truly awful fall around -20.

  • pat

    I just bought a Berkman jersey for 5 bucks. I will wear it with pride.

  • Mattchu12

    I don’t get it. I really like Lance Berkman, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t get it.

    The Cardinals could have signed Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez (when you think of what Berkman’s defense is going to be like, yeah, Manny is an option), Scott Hairston, Brad Hawpe (Berk can’t hit lefties either), Magglio Ordonez, Xavier Nady, or even Jeremy Hermida for around that price or less.

    Why sign a guy that really ought to be a full-time DH but is a passable first baseman, to play left field?

    • candyforstalin

      they’re going for a 4.0 gb/fb.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Damon DH’d in 75 percent of his games in 2010. I don’t think he can cover enough ground to play a Major League left field any longer.

      That said, I can’t imagine Berkman is either. Damon might have the offensive edge these days.

      • Big Stein

        Has anyone shown interest in signing either Damon or Zilla?

        • bexarama

          Supposedly Oakland was looking at Matsui. Haven’t heard anything about Damon.

    • steve (different one)

      As i said last night, Jack Cust seems like a pretty obvious facsimile if you aren’t worried about defense.

  • Amol

    Actually, he cost Mark Melancon, Jimmy Paredes and some money. Which still isn’t a whole heck of a lot.

  • OldYanksFan

    Even with poor defense, if Lance can even approach his former self, he will be a hell of a bat for $8m. For years, we were happy with Matsui in LF because we liked his .850 OPS bat. Berkman has a good chance of being better then that.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Even if Berkman puts up great offensive numbers next season, his defense in left will likely decrease his value significantly. And if he brings something similar to last season’s career-low .345 wOBA output to the table along with terrible defense, the value won’t really be there at all.

      I hope Berkman has a huge 2011 season, but I don’t see it happening.

      • Not Tank the Frank

        Yeah he’s not going to hit those numbers (.850 OPS) if LaRussa lets him bat from both sides of the plate. The Yankees had him read right: The lefty side of a DH platoon, passable at 1B in a pinch. That’s it.

    • steve (different one)

      i don’t know if we were “happy” with Matsui in LF or just ignorant. those mid-00’s Yankee OFs were atrocious.

  • icebird753

    @OldYanksFan, he sure doesn’t have the body that ages well….

    • OldYanksFan

      But… but… HE LOST WEIGHT!
      Well, the guy is 35… not young, but not that old.
      Shit! He’s younger than our Shortstop!

      It’s a one year deal. Can he put up a .850 or better OPS in the NL Central? Is that worth $8m? I dunno.

  • Pasqua

    The thing that was most pleasant of a surprise about Berkman’s time in NY was his droll sense of humor. He was hilarious. Two things that I remember genuinely laughing at:

    When, asked by MLB Network, why he thought the Yanks had acquired him, Berkman responded, “My speed.”

    And, when he came off the DL, he said something to the effect of, “I’m sure Yankees fans everywhere are excited to see me return and continue my pursuit of the Mendoza Line.”

    That’s A-material in the sports world. I wish him well.

    • Not Tank the Frank

      Yeah he was hilarious and really seemed to enjoy his time with the Yankees even though he wasn’t embraced by the fans.

      Hitting A-Rod with a line drive in batting practice… some guys have all the luck.

  • Jake H

    If only we got a pick for him too.

  • Mickey Scheister

    This signing is moronic. Puma in the field he is not. I’m am however looking forward to the blunders in the field. It couldn’t be any worse than Holiday’s dropped playoff catch…or could it?