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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