Why is it that every time the Astros look to the future, it has to do with Drayton and the possible sale of the Astros? Because that's what FanGraphs is saying, regarding Berkman's 2011 option year.
Berkman’s future is now in doubt, however, as the Astros, mired in a rebuilding period and with current owner Drayton McLane attempting to find a buyer, may decline his $15 million 2011 club option. The 34 year old first baseman suggested that if the option is not picked up that he would choose not to return to Houston on a different deal and would instead test the free agent market.
Could it not be that the Astros would decline his option for baseball reasons, and not because Drayton's trying to pretty up the franchise? Is the perspective of the Astros that poor that they would make a smart baseball move on its own merit, and not because of some external circumstance? No? Oh, okay.
With his age and the Astros’ current position on the win curve, he probably isn’t worth the money to them. At the trading deadline, the Astros could probably pull in a decent haul of prospects for him, a much better use of that asset.
What would his next contract look like?
Berkman is probably better than anyone that hit the market this winter, and even at 35, he should be able to get a contract that pays him into the middle of the decade. A fair market value would probably be a 4 year, $50MM contract, taking into account the discounts players typically give for longer term deals. However, Berkman does have “money skills,” with loads of HRs and RBIs, and may command something above Jason Bay’s deal (4/$66MM) and maybe something similar to John Lackey’s new contract (5/$82.5MM).
Would you want the Astros - and remember, thanks to the extension, this is Ed Wade's (fine, and Drayton's) decision - to extend Berkman into 2015?