We may be seeing the beginning of the end of the Astros as we have known them: unwilling to sell, and move forward. Of course, thanks to an early, busy morning at work, I missed it until just about everybody else had seen it, but Lance Berkman is open to the idea of being traded.
“If it was me and I was running the show here, if we didn't make a great comeback like we did in '05 and be sort of around .500 by the All-Star break, I'd try to trade every veteran I could to reload,” Berkman said. “That's the quickest way you're going to be able to reload and get it going in the right direction.
“As a player, if they came to me and said, ‘Hey, we've got a deal to go to a contender,' I'd take it. Heck, it's only a three- or four-month deal. It's not like I'm signing on for 10 years with another team.
I would say yeah. I think it would benefit the organization, and in the end, it would be a benefit for whoever it is — whether it's me, or Roy (Oswalt) or Carlos. I'm not saying we're at the point where they should start pulling the plug on us, but they need to start thinking forward. If this thing keeps going like this, they've gotta do something.
If you're running a team, you don't want to get caught in baseball purgatory — where you're not really getting young and you're not really (competing). Where you're in this deal where every year you're signing a marginal veteran and you just never get in the mix.”
This is very altruistic, but let's keep in mind that Berkman isn't offering to go to the Royals to help turn the team around.
“I have been fortunate to play on at least competitive teams for most of my career, and it just stinks, you know, when you're getting older and really want to win. And then you kind of think, ‘Aw, man, how long before we win here?' This organization has been great to me. I love the Houston Astros. No matter what happens, I'm always going to be an Astro at heart. But as you get older, you definitely start to look at things like that, and you say, ‘How many sub-.500 seasons do you want to play?' ”
There it is. It would be good for Lance (and Roy), and getting rid of Lee's contract would induce me into a barbecuing meat coma in celebration, but it would be good for the Astros. Berkman and Roy's contracts are manageable in the short-term for teams looking to contend, but if Wade can trade Carlos Lee (who isn't interested in waiving his no-trade clause - and why would he? No one made Tim Purpura sign him to a long-term, expensive deal. It's like blaming A-Rod for taking $252 million. Like you wouldn't do it.) then he deserves Executive of the Year.