Earlier in the week, we heard word that free agent Lance Berkmanhad drawn some level of interest from the Texas Rangers and that the Lone Star State native was considering playing another season versus retirement.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch informs us today that, in addition to the Rangers, Berkman has been contacted by the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays. While he has not yet committed to playing in 2013, Berkman has “warmed” to the idea of being a DH, making another tour of duty in the American League a possibility. Berkman struggled mightily down the stretch in 2010 after being acquired by the Yankees, when he was used primarily as the designated hitter.
Berkman, 36, has talked openly about retirement being a real possibility. At this point, his knees probably won’t allow him to play anything close to a full season as a two-way player. In 212, Berkman was limited to just 32 games of action but posted an .832 OPS. He’s just one season removed from a .301/.412/.547 campaign, however, so it’s clear he still has plenty of life left in his switch-hitting bat.
It sounds as if Berkman, who says he received two offers before Christmas, will play next season if he finds a team willing to pay him enough money. Berkman had previously been linked to the Astros, for whom he played the first eleven-and-a-half seasons of his 14-year career. While Houston needs a DH and a homecoming would keep Berkman in his native city, the Astros won’t be competitive in 2013 or anytime soon thereafter.
If winning is of vital importance for the veteran, Texas, Baltimore, and Tampa all make sense.