Update: Rangers sign Lance BerkmanBy
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.