Jan
05

Update: Rangers sign Lance Berkman

By

9:00pm: Berkman has agreed to a one-year contract with the Rangers according to multiple reports. He received $11M guaranteed with a vesting option based on plate appearances. It was going to be tough for the Yankees to pry Puma away from his home state at any price, especially that one. I was thinking like, half that amount.

10:00am: Via Ken Davidoff: The Yankees have interest in, and have been in contact with Lance Berkman, presumably to fill their DH position. The Astros, Rangers, and Orioles also have interest in Fat Elvis, who is a free agent for the second time in his borderline Hall of Fame career.

Berkman, 36, missed most of last season with continued knee problems (including two surgeries), but he is just one year removed from a .301/.412/.547 (163 wRC+) showing with the Cardinals. Puma needs a right-handed platoon partner these days despite being a switch-hitter, and after seven total knee surgeries, I can’t imagine he could be counted on to play the field. Berkman spent time in New York in 2010 and is reportedly good friends with Andy Pettitte, but it would be tough to lure him away from his home state with both the Astros and Rangers involved.

Given the way they Yankees have prioritized one-year contracts and, ahem, veteran players this offseason, Berkman is a perfect fit for that DH spot. He’ll bring some much-needed on-base skills to the lineup and might even hit some homers too. The questions are his knees and willingness to play far away from home more than anything.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League

135 Comments»

  1. Midnight Rider says:

    c’mon at what point does this broken down old player thing become a joke..we get it Cash you don’t like being questioned and are making pissy moves to prove the point but yanks are now a punch line around the league…

  2. Blake says:

    Lancelot fits the age requirement (35 and older) but they’d still need a RH bat cause be can’t hit lefties anymore.

    He’d be a fine last resort but they should aim higher first via trade IMO

  3. Yankee insider says:

    Please sign him but I think the only way it will happen if we do a youk an give him more money to leave texas so about $8-12m for a one year deal but it won’t affect 2014. Also he’s not that great against lefties (hitting righty) but on those dad we can either use him or put jeter or youk or someone at DH and use Nunez to fill in for jeter or if youk DH canzler can fill in at third. Also it’s not the greatest DH option but what about Carlos lee: He mashed Lefties last year .348 and hit righties fairly well around .280. He’d be a good addition.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

      Versus lefties last year, Carlos Lee went .206/.261/.298, .284/.355/.389 vs. righties. You must be looking at the wrong season

    • The Doctor (formerly known as G formerly known as Matt Smith fornerly known as David Tennant formerly known as etc) says:

      I don’t think a lefty DH is imperative seeing as either Nuñez or Nix can fill in at short or 3rd and move Youk or Jeter to DH. The issue is still the fact that they don’t have a legitimate RH OF.

  4. Alkaline says:

    Has he ever said anything about his previous tenure with the Yanks indicating a return?

    • CS Yankee says:

      He went on the radio during the ’10-’11 offseason and hammered home his thoughts on the rangers being a one-year flyer and with Lee gone they wouldn’t contend (which raised his value to me).

      Said at the time that an Astro reunion was unlikely, would like to play for the NYY or StL. His actions seem to match his words. Doubt he’ll play for the Rangers after those comments, could see the ‘stros though as his fans would like that.

      Pass…NYY will have Arod/Youk doing that role for the second half and I would rather see a mixed combo of Nunez/Diaz/Jeter/etc in the mean time.

    • Now Batting says:

      I remember he said he didn’t like DHing. Looks like that’s all his body can handle now though.

  5. Rizi Walnuts says:

    I was watching a guy pile up ten thousand cans and bottles on the street corner and it was more exciting than this Yankee off-season

  6. uyf1950 says:

    Have we forgotten how bad Berkman looked when the Yankees picked him up the summer of 2010.

    • Midnight Rider says:

      yes but Cash likes that he’s even older now, fat with two bad knees, he’s just now coming into his yankee prime

    • Evan3457 says:

      Looked pretty good in the post-season. One of the few Yankees who did.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Berkman did nothing in his first five games with NYY, then hit .298/.404/.417 the rest of the season.

      • Hoss says:

        Since when did you get to discount a portion of the season in a player’s stats? His total numbers (in 37 games, many of which were PH appearances) were .255/.358/.349, he played a terrible 1B and ran the bases poorly because he was so out of shape.

        • Get Phelps Up says:

          He was probably hurt in those first games.

          • forensic says:

            I’m not saying you’re definitely wrong, but I’d like to see more support for that belief if you have any.

            His last 18 games with the Astros he OPS’d over 1.050, including being even better the last few games before the trade.

            • Get Phelps Up says:

              My only support for that is the fact that he struggled when he first arrived, then went on the DL and raked when he came off.

              It could also just be he needed some time to adjust to a big market and a winning atmosphere and the injury was unrelated.

              • Scully says:

                People also forget he was one of like 3 Yankees that post season (the others being Cano and Posada) that raked.

                • forensic says:

                  I’m not sure where people are getting this ‘raked’ idea about him in the playoffs either. He played only one game in the DS and had a very nice game.

                  He then played 4 games in the CS and had pretty mediocre numbers with a .750 OPS, and that even includes an insanely rare triple (to LF no less) for him at that point in his career. I don’t remember it off-hand, but I can only imagine that Murphy misplayed it pretty badly for Berkman to reach third.

                  Posada, by the way, was pretty bad that whole postseason. I imagine you’re somehow mistaking him for Granderson who was pretty awesome that postseason.

                  And just for the hell of it, that DS against Minnesota was Swisher’s only good postseason series since his first career series with Oakland, which makes you wonder what the hell the Twins were doing that whole series anyway…

                  • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                    313/368/688 for that postseason. “Raked” seems like a fair assessment of his overall performance.

              • forensic says:

                Not that it’s a big deal anymore, but in between the first 6 games and his DL stint he had another 6 games where he OPS’d .929.

      • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM)) says:

        Shush Mike with your “facts” and “numbers” it didn’t FEEL like he did well, so he sucked. Did he really OPS .822 though? That’s damn impressive.

        • Hoss says:

          Most definitely. And if you look at Tuesday night games in September, the guy just raked!

          • forensic says:

            Looks like he was actually better on Wednesday’s, so you should’ve gone there…

            But if you’re actually going to make an argument for the sake of discussion, then why not just take out his last 6 games instead of his first 6 like Mike did and then you knock his OPS down to the .730′s?

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Good point. Even I seem to only remember those first five games.

        Glad we keep you around.

    • hogsmog says:

      If you think that’s relevant, then how do you ignore finishing 7th in MVP voting and winning the WS the very next year?

  7. Pistol Pete says:

    Don’t think he ever liked it in NY the last time and didn’t play particularly well. Could be a formidable lefty DH with Arod/Youk taking the RHDH/3b role. Until or if Arod gets back they’ll probably fill in the DH role with Nunez. Any idea what he’d cost, he certainly won’t be as cheap as Ibanez. If they didn’t spend $7.5m on Pierzynski it’s hard to see them luring Berkman with Texas showing serious interest. Don’t see it happening.

  8. Mike says:

    He also might consider that NYY gives him his best last chance of winning. Houston is destined for last place and the Angels are far superior than Texas.

    • Midnight Rider says:

      best chance of winning over Houston for sure, but would it honestly surprise anybody if the yanks finished anywhere from 1st to 4th this season

      • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM)) says:

        I can think of one, definitely(Detroit), 2 more if things break right for them(Anahiem and Texas) and if I’m honest with myself 1 more if absolutely everything breaks right for them and absolutely everything breaks wrong for us, and that is Toronto. When I say absolutely everything breaking right for Toronto, I mean the following in no specific order: Dickey transfers to the AL East and remains dominant, Johnson stays healthy for a full season, Burhle and Ramero remembers how to not suck at pitching, Bautista stays healthy, Encarnacion has another career year, Reyes (who has had hamstring problems in the past) doesn’t break down/get hurt playing 90 games on turf(81 at home, 9 in Tampa, they get league average production from the other 6 spots in the line up (more than a few are AAAA players), also finding a viable bullpen by spring training. Meanwhile Toronto would need The Yankees to have (again no real order of importance): Jeter not bounce back from his injury, Youk to continue his downward trend/get hurt, Tex to regress even further, Gardner not come back from his injury properly, Alex not take a swing all 2013, Granderson loss his power and not gain any average, Ichiro to turn into 2011 Ichiro, Kuroda’s arm showing the 230+ innings from last season, Hughes to take a step back, Nova to continue sucking, and Mo to not be Mo.

        Now if all of that happens then yes, there are 4 teams better than the Yankees on paper. However, only 1 of them is in the divison, and a lot would have to go their way for them to be better than us. Even then we’re still making the playoffs. But on top of that the 2011 Red Sox where legitimately the best team on paper before the 2011 season, Eric Ortiz didn’t pull that out of his head. Look at what happened to them. There is a reason we play the games.

        • Mike says:

          I’m not discounting DET or TOR or other contenders. What I meant, in the scope of the article, is that if his choices come down to HOU, TEX or NYY, his best shot at winning is with NYY. That is all.

          • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM)) says:

            Oh, I was responding to Midnight Rider(seriously, that sounds like a bad 80s hairband or Night Rider spin-off) that he would be surprised if the Yankees finish “anywhere between 1st-4th” I still don’t know if he means Divison, AL, or MLB though.

            • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

              Come on Dalek – Knight Rider. With a K. :)

              • Betty Lizard says:

                Oh hell, all that started me singing “I’ve got one more silver dollar” and then that led to “have you heard about the midnight rambler” and then that led into our off-season theme song, “you can’t always get what you WANT. . . “. So it was a whole celery cap medley of Allman Brothers and Stones.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              “Midnight Rider” was always the alternate name Dusty Rhodes used whenever he’d don a mask to secretly avenge some wrong against a heel in the 80′s NWA and Florida wrestling, as it his opponent would not otherwise recognize the 300 lb. Texan was a blotch on his belly.

              • MannyGeee says:

                Holy shit stacks. How do you remember things like this?

                • Pat D says:

                  If you’re a wrestling fan, you always remember the really, really bad things.

                  Especially when the person playing the role was also the person booking the whole thing.

  9. JRod says:

    It just didn’t work out last time. Granted, he had a great renaissance year with the Cards. But now the Yanks going to go for round two, after he had TWO knee surgeries last season? Pass.

  10. Hoss says:

    And if Lance doesn’t pan out, there’s always Nick Johnson. Nick hasn’t met a disabled list he doesn’t like, and the Yankees have one of the best.

    Heck, with Javy Vasquez making a comeback, we should be PROACTIVE and
    reach out to Sergio Mitre.

    Maybe ticket and concession prices could return to the levels when these guys were in their prime 10 years ago.

    • Joel Skinner says:

      OK Mr Negative….who should the Yankees use for the DH and who should they use for the Right Handed outfielder? I am curious as to what all the negative Yankee fans think they should do?

      • DC says:

        Hoss won’t reply for a while. He’s off gathering information from a magic 8 ball and his WWGD matrix.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

        If LaRoche resigns with Washington, they should be on the phone to see what it would take to acquire Morse to fill both roles.

        • Joel Skinner says:

          OK…what if Washington wants one or more of Austin, Williams, Sanchez, Heathcott or Banuelos (I know he is hurt). Do you do it?

          • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

            No. But I don’t think Morse would command a top 50 level prospect. I may be wrong though. Either way, they should at least find out what it would take. Of the players currently or potentially available, Morse makes the most realistic sense given the Yankees needs, imo. If the price is too high, they can then move on to lesser options.

          • Mike says:

            How many of them do you expect to pan out? Yankees farm development stinks.

            • Joel Skinner says:

              ????? Montero, IPK, Hughes, Cano, Joba (the reliever), Gardner, Robinson, Austin Jackson….not to mention the talent the Yanks have in A and AA…

  11. Rigoleto says:

    2004 Allstar team, the 2012 NY Yankees.

    • forensic says:

      2004 is a little early for Youk though.

      Personally, I would vote for 2007. Look at the offense they would have with A-Rod, Tex, Youk, Granderson, Berkman, Ichiro, Cano, and Jeter all having great/terrific to incredible years.

      Who cares who’s catching at that point?

  12. Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

    I’d take Fat Elvis as lefty DH.

    The only problem will be once Arod comes back, you have essentially 2 positions for Arod, Berkman and Youkalis (though I guess you could give Youk a few games at 1B) and I doubt either Arod or Youk would be too thrilled being the short side of a platoon.

    On the other hand, they likely won’t need to worry about that till the 2nd half of the season anyway with Arod out and with the injury history in recent years of those 3 guys, they’ll probably sort the problem out themselves.

    • Mike says:

      I don’t know, but I just have a hunch we’ve seen the last of Arod.

    • Mr. Sparkle says:

      Coming off another hip surgery (on the other hip) I have to believe IF Alex comes back this season, he’s going to spend a lot of time as the right handed DH. Think about it…two problematic hips, coming off surgery on one of them at age 37 and he’s going to be rolled right back out on the field as if nothing happened? Doubtful.

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

        I agree Its doubtful they’re gonna roll him out at 3rd base everyday right off the DL but let’s say he comes back with 80 games to play. If they only played him as RH DH in a platoon with Berkman, he’d get about 125 or so ABs. I can’t see that happening, not if he’s able to play and they’re paying him $27 million per year.

  13. Barry says:

    Giambino would be more fun? Honestly though if Berkman can be 4/5 of what he was in 2011 than who could say no, I’m for it. If he doesn’t then no hard feelings.

  14. Austin Aunelowitzky says:

    I would rather pass on Puma…but what do I know?….All Day I Dream About Sex.

  15. thunder rd runner says:

    he failed here once already, he’ll fail again.
    God, can we please get some young talent in here???

    • Mike says:

      They brought Javy Vazquez in to fail twice.

    • jjyank says:

      We ALL want young talent, and I’m sure the Yankees do too. If only it were as easy as bitching on the internet to get it. The other 29 teams want young talent too, so they don’t really want to give it away just because we want them to.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Can we please get an original thought in here?

    • Joel Skinner says:

      Younger doesnt always mean better…..All of the Yanks top prospects are in Tampa or Trenton…thus the need to patchwork with “older” veterans until our “Good” younger players are better. I wouldnt choose Melky Mesa over Morse or Berkman or Soriano just because he is younger. He has to be better too.

  16. Austinmac says:

    The Dallas Morning News reports Berkman wants two years. They also report the Rangers have made him a one year offer. I don’t see him leaving Texas as the days of money talks are over.

  17. Now Batting says:

    Whenever I get sad over this offseason, I think of how Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia started about 60 games in 2011 to feel better.

  18. Mike says:

    With both Texas and Houston interested, I think he’ll choose 1 of those 2 over NY and Baltimore.

  19. Blake says:

    I hope they at least try to get Upton…..then if that doesn’t work I hope they try to get Morse…..if that doesn’t work then they maybe can sign Lance if he wants to come back to NY

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      Maybe Cash has already had conversations about those two.

      You do realize that publicly stating the teams wants/needs/preferences by the GM is not a good negotiating tactic, right?

      Not directed specifically at you, but there are so many comments blasting Cashman for not inquiring about this guy or that, when in reality, he has in all probability inquired about everyone he thinks could help his team. He just doesn’t broadcast it.

  20. Jd says:

    Anyone know what rab day had all the 2012 home runs video?

  21. Travis L. says:

    For all the bitching people are doing about “we should do this” or “we should do that”, I think signing Berkman would fill a gap on a one year deal (spending only money) that would come off the books during the next offseason. That means we get to keep the “young talent” that everyone wants us to have, but wants us to give up for ONE guy. Nothing says “THE YANKEES NEED YOUNG PLAYERS” like trading multiple young players away for 3-6 years of ONE guy. Damn folks, relax a bit. Take the season to realize that our farm is better than we think and allow the kids to grow in the minors. Before you know it, we will have the other 29 teams trying to throw THEIR top prospects to US for someone we have.

  22. Need Pitching & Hitting says:

    Much ado about nothing.

  23. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I’m sure Mike is correct as to us only remembering his first few games, but I just couldn’t get excited over Berkman in pinstripes the first time around. Recovery from injury and age do concern me as well. I’d be extremely cautiously optimistic here.

  24. Roadgeek Adam says:

    Well, Berkman is going to the Rangers. So, problem solved there. (see MLBTR)

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      No big loss.

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

        Not the end of the world though they still need a RH corner outfielder and a DH.
        Considering they’re likely to get little offense from catcher and below average offense from LF and RF (Gardner and Ichiro) they could really use a productive bat at DH.

        • Get Phelps Up says:

          I think Gardner will be an above average producer. Ichiro I’m less sure about.

          • Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

            His wRC+ his last 3 full seasons was 91, 112, 97 so chances are he’ll be around league average though I would think league average would be below what you expect from a corner outfielder.

            • Get Phelps Up says:

              I think it’s unfair to compare him to other LFers because 1) his skill set is much closer to a CF and 2) he’s probably going to be moved back to CF this year. Even if they didn’t move him to LF, then Granderson would make up for it by providing much more production than a normal CF.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

              He’ll likely be a slightly below average hitter, but above average overall offensively factoring in his baserunning.

              But I agree, I’d feel much better about their chances if they could add another legit bat, preferably of the everyday variety.

  25. Matthew says:

    What about Vlad Guerrero as a RH bat option?

  26. Get Phelps Up says:

    I wanted him but $10M is an awful lot for a guy who didn’t even get 100 plate appearances because of injury last year.

  27. Mike says:

    Rangers agree to 1 year deal with Lance Berkman. It is for $10 million. So much for that idea.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Thi is textbook “Throw all yuor money at planA B C D E F G so you dont leave the flea market empty handed” Massive over pay for one of my favorite non-Yankee players. Well done Nolan Ryan

  28. Yankee insider says:

    Well now we can go with Hafner, Huff, Lee, trade, Cust, Branyan, Thome, platoon, or Posednik. Mainly Hafner, Huff, or lee though.

  29. mrdbag says:

    I think cash is trying to get fired look at his recent public comments and disdain he has shown for the team. I think we should resurrect judge Landis and try Caahman in the spirit if the 1919 black sox

  30. Jersey Joe says:

    I think signing Juan Rivera to a MiLB deal would be the first thing to do now. Have him, Diaz, Mesa, and maybe Canzler duke it out in ST.

    As for DH, I’d like to see what Aubrey Huff can do in YS3 on a MiLB deal. Backup 1B, lefty DH type. Russ Canzler may be a candidate. Also, here’s a name I bet you haven’t heard in a while: Paul McAnulty. In the minors with LAA, he’s never done horribly. He’s worth a look I guess, especially in YS3. A lefty Russ Canzler. Has been mashing for years.

    What other names come to mind for RH OF and lefty DH?

  31. Sean A says:

    Where is Richie Sexon these days…

  32. Pistol Pete says:

    What a boring off season. Only older vets on one year deals except Ichiro on a two year deal. The budget thing is really in place and the Yanks must have really hated AJ Pierzynski. It’s going to be a long couple of years if anyone gets hurt or slows down as is expected with age. It might look like Jurassic Park at Yankee Stadium around August next year.

  33. amanda says:

    88-74, 2nd AL East, 821 R, 178 HR, 4.35 ERA, 105 E, Mgr:Showalter, 3B:Boggs, SP:Key 18, CL:Farr 25, HR:Tartabull 31, SB:Kelly 14 2 years later history repeats 1993 yankees hope we can get 178 hrs

  34. RetroRob says:

    I expected him to sign with one of the Texas teams, but wow, was not expecting $11M guaranteed.

  35. Ryan says:

    Might as well see what Nunez can do and make him the DH. Gardner, Suzuki, Nunez in the lineup every night ? Yankees might not have the same pop they’re use to but the speed is impressive.

  36. Pat D says:

    Nice to see NoMaas invaded over night.

  37. Reggie C. says:

    Maybe Sheffield still has some fire left in him.

    #planG

  38. Monterowasnotdinero says:

    The 2013 Downsiders don’t need another downsider.

    Let the kids play!

  39. trr says:

    Good! fat annd washed up, he’ll be on the DL with his feet up by Memorial Day. Let’s get some young talent in here!

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