Friday, January 14, 2011

Oh great, Berkman's on a mission

Last night, over a couple of adult beverages, a couple of friends of mine (one a Cardinals fan, the other a Yankees fan) talked about Lance Berkman - strangely enough we three represented the last - and only - three teams of Berkman's career.

I said that Berkman was going to have a great year, for three reasons:

1. He's healthy for the first time in a while.
2. He'll be playing on a team that will contend for the postseason.
3. He's going to want to stick it to the Astros.

And then Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch went and published this huge article on Berkman. And I think I'm right.

Anyhow, on the wooing of Lance Berkman:
La Russa lobbied the five-time All-Star at least twice over the phone while explaining a desire to return Berkman to the outfield. Berkman rejected the Cardinals' initial $4 million offer as the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs circled. Berkman remained in touch with Adam Wainwright, whom he and Cara had befriended during a pair of faith-based retreats for athletes.

Shortly after Berkman told Wainwright of the Cubs' interest in him as Derrek Lee's successor at first base, Mozeliak called with an enhanced, $7.5 million offer. By that time Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was en route to Houston for dinner with Berkman. Sensing Hendry might be prepared to offer as much as $10 million, Berkman told the Cardinals he would commit for $8 million with no incentives attached. When Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. signed off on a second modified offer, the two-day negotiation was finalized.

Hendry still dined with Berkman but returned empty-handed to Chicago.

Berkman, who validates my Position #3:
"Circumstances had to be so bizarre for me to end up where I am: We had to be a bad team. I had to be doing really poorly, which forced them into not picking up my option. I had a really bad year with a relatively new GM who doesn't have attachment to the old guard. Once they cut me loose I think they washed their hands of it."

Berkman's wife, who validates Position #1 & #2:
"I hate that so much of people's opinion is based solely on last year. It was such a poor year starting off with surgery. That was the root of it. Then when you're on a team that's bad and you're expected to lift the team up … I just don't think it was a fair year."

Get ready, because I think Berkman is going to go off this year.


AstroBrit said...

that's why I'm expecting an offensive rebound from Berkman this year. Take a guy in his 30s and injure him in Spring Training, and it has a knock on effect for the player throughout the season, because he hasn't prepared properly.

Kathy Amen said...

It will be weird enough to see Lance in a Cards uni, how nightmarish if it had been a CUBS shirt

Warren said...

Berkman will be injured again this coming season. Whether he recovered from his last injury or not, there will be new injuries. It should be fun watching him defensively in the outfield. He can probably still hit but I do not see a solid year at bat as far as total numbers. Right move to trade him and right move to not resign him regardless how he performs this year.