But Puma, What About The Rangers?

by on August 30, 2011 · 12 comments

Don’t worry Boo-Boo, the Rangers have Adrian Beltre who is practically “Mr. Consistency” in non-contract years, so they will be just fine.  They might miss Nelson Cruz, but Beltre will pick them up.  That’s the same Beltre who hit .340 last year and is the best defensive 3B in baseball according to CJ Wilson.  Don’t let that actual .321 batting average fool you, CJ, we all know Adrian was good for another 19 points in team chemistry, hustle, grit, and scrappiness.  Anyhoo….

If you haven’t heard the latest bad rumor about the Rangers being interested in Lance Berkman, then I don’t want to be the one to break the news.  Forget I mentioned it and go about your business thinking this post was really about Yogi and a picnic basket.  If you have heard the rumor, then let me go ahead and tell you how bad an idea it would be for the Cardinals to let anybody else get a shot at #BigFatElvisPuma.

There are bad ideas.  There are really bad ideas.  Then there are things like sticking your tongue to a frozen flag pole, eating yellow snow, and letting a potential type A free agent depart when you could use his services next year.  If the Cardinals offer Berkman arbitration AND he’s a type A free agent, the team will receive some very nice parting gifts in the event he decides to sign with another team.  Those parting gifts come in the form of 2 draft picks, and draft picks are nice things to have, although they aren’t as nice as having productive players like Berkman.  If he’s a type B free agent, the parting gift isn’t quite as nice, but that’s not really the point.  The Cardinals would get stuff for basically doing nothing.  That’s essentially the most American of things – getting free stuff for nothing.  What’s not to like? 

Better yet, the Cardinals have a reasonably good shot at signing Berkman to an extension, especially if they act fast.  The team has a 10 day window of opportunity after the end of the World Series during which they have exclusive rights to negotiate with their own free agents.  Timing is everything.  There is no way that Pujols will be signed by that point, so the temptation for Berkman almost has to be greater to sign with the Cardinals, because he knows that there is a chance that first base will be open next season.  Consider that just part of the “home field advantage” package that St. Louis currently enjoys, and the team should move quickly, IF they want him back.

There should be no question about the “IF” part.  Even if Berkman doesn’t come back and hit 30 hr again, he’s an on-base machine (.405 OBP), and he was sturdy this season.  He has answered the bell in 118 of the team’s 134 games so far, and that’s just 1 fewer than “The Machine”, Albert Pujols. 

Maybe the Rangers are interested in Lance Berkman, but they already had an opportunity like every other team out there.  Back when he didn’t have a baseball home, it was the Cardinals that showed him some love and gave him that baseball home.  Hope they keep him in it and pad it with a little more cash to keep him there for another year or so.

TIDBIT:  It might be a lot to ask, but if Berkman can hit another 5 hr, he’ll reach 35 hr which will be the 3rd most he’s hit in a season in his career behind the 45 he hit in 2006 and the 42 he hit in 2002. 

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Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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AM August 30, 2011

I dont think the Cardinals would do a deal unless the return matched the draft pick compensation…

PH8 August 30, 2011

So if Jon Daniels called up, sans his good senses, and offered Neftali Feliz for Berkman, no deal?

I mean, I’m generally with you re: the draft picks, but there are no guarantees in that process either – at least not like getting two prospects actually in hand that you can control choosing – versus hoping your guys drop to you in the draft.

Just playing counter-point…

Dennis August 30, 2011

Any reasonable offer would be worth a listen, but we all know that Feliz wouldn’t be mentioned in a deal like this.

If the comparison is really 2 prospects versus 2 draft picks, then that’s a debate with some merit, but it’s more about having Berkman versus 2 prospects. The draft picks are really the “insurance” or backup plan in case the team loses out on Puma. Now, if the team was concerned that he could easily drop from an “A” to a “B”, then a deal that secures prospects equivalent in value to “A” compensation could be a potentially savvy one. It really depends on how confident the team is that he can be convinced to return.

Am August 30, 2011

I’d do it for Jurickson Profar straight up.

PH8 August 30, 2011

I think that would require the aforementioned leave of good senses by Daniels. But yeah, I’m in.

Dennis August 30, 2011

I’m in favor of anything involving Daniels and a temporary loss of good senses.

am August 31, 2011

Sure, Daniels — being one of the brighter GM’s around — wouldn’t be one to overpay. But if I’m St. Louis, I want first round value. An elite prospect at A-ball is just that.

PH8 September 1, 2011

Yes, of course. I don’t think it’s been suggested otherwise, nor is it a matter of discussion anymore, since Berkman asserted his position a bit, eh?

Bill Ivie August 30, 2011

My only caveat is the “wild card” of Berkman discussing possible retirement. If he retires, the team is left empty handed.

In all honesty, I agree with you, keep him here and get him signed for a year with an option year and see what happens. My gut tells me he becomes the player that leaves because he gets told “We are not signing anyone until we know what happens with Pujols.” If that’s the case, how patient will Berkman be in that process?

Good read, as always…

Dennis August 30, 2011

Interesting point, Bill. If Berkman is really interested in retiring, then the Rangers could be offering him his last chance at going to the playoffs. Just a thought.

If signing Berkman is held up even a day by the Pujols deal, then heads need to roll. It’s no different than saving money for tires you know you will need on your car or the roof you will have to replace. You know it has to happen at some point, it’s just a matter of how nice you want the tires to be or the difference between a 15 and 30 year roof. I’m all in favor of a 1 + 1 for Puma and letting the chips fall where they may with Pujols.

am August 30, 2011

You set a deadline w/ Pujols, then act from there.

I have a hard time believing Carpenter won’t be here. That holding true, I have a hard time imagining Berkman here if Pujols is here.

Dennis August 30, 2011

Agree about Carp, but I also don’t have any problems imagining a world in which none of them are in St. Louis. Then again, it wasn’t that long ago that many people thought that Berkman would never be a Redbird.

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