Tag: Lance Berkman

MLB Rumors: Latest on Alex Rodriguez Suspension, Lance Berkman Return and More

Although Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, there’s no shortage of rumors surrounding America’s past time. 

During the final two months of a normal MLB season, rumors about waiver trades, injury updates and lineup adjustments run rampant. 

This season, we also have rumors about the threat of major suspensions for some of the league’s biggest stars. The Biogenesis scandal has rocked the game since Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times broke ground with the story in late January. 

Bud Selig and MLB officials have already announced a lengthy suspension for Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. Nelson Cruz (Texas Rangers), Melky Cabrera (Toronto Blue Jays), Bartolo Colon (Oakland Athletics) and Jhonny Peralta (Detroit Tigers) were also implicated in Elfrink‘s report. 

Without question, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was the biggest name connected to baseball’s latest performance-enhancing drug scandal. 

In our latest batch of MLB rumors, we’ll discuss A-Rod, Lance Berkman and a few other notes on minor player movement. 


Latest on A-Rod Suspension

MLB isn’t happy with A-Rod. A-Rod isn’t happy with MLB. According to the New York Daily News‘ Twitter account, it’s looking like the player should have been a bit more gracious with his approach to a possible suspension:

Bill Madden, Michael O’Keeffe and Teri Thompson all worked on the latest Daily News report concerning the 38-year-old player, and they don’t paint a picture of A-Rod returning to Joe Girardi’s lineup in 2013. 

Or 2014. 

Or, depending on the numbers, 2015. 

Per the report, MLB has rejected Rodriguez’s request to negotiate a suspension settlement. An announcement of A-Rod’s suspension is expected to come on Monday, and he faces a 214-game ban from baseball’s hierarchy. 

Here’s an excerpt from the story, explaining why the ban could be so lengthy:

MLB investigators have gathered what they believe is voluminous evidence proving that Rodriguez violated the game’s collectively bargained drug agreement  in 2010, 2011 and 2012 by obtaining performance enhancing drugs from Anthony Bosch and his Biogenesis anti-aging clinic.

[He] also violated the “just cause” provision (rule 7 G.2) of the collective bargaining agreement by obstructing commissioner Bud Selig’s investigation and for lying to MLB officials about performance-enhancing drug use. Rodriguez will be suspended under both provisions, according to the source.

A-Rod hit a home run for Double-A Trenton on Friday night, and ESPN’s Ian Begley reported on Saturday that he and the Yankees were working on a “tentative” plan to return the three-time American League MVP to the Bronx on Monday. 

That plan could be for naught if MLB decides to drop the hammer the same day. 


Lance Berkman Targeting Return

The Rangers have struggled to score runs since the All-Star break, but help could be on the way. 

Berkman, who was put on the disabled list on July 7, is reportedly targeting a return to the lineup around mid-August. Fox Sports’ Anthony Andro had this tweet concerning Berkman’s intentions:

There had been talk that the 37-year-old would hang up his cleats in favor of coming off the DL, but he squashed those rumors on Thursday. As reported by Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News, Berkman has recognized that the Rangers need another strong bat in the lineup with the playoffs in sight. 

“I’ve made up my mind to try and play,” said Berkman. “This team needs a bat and I’m gonna do my dangdest to make that happen.”

The switch-hitter was batting .254 with six home runs and 34 RBI before he went on the shelf. The Rangers were shut out four times in their first 10 games after the All-Star break, but the lineup has shown signs of life since then, putting up seven runs or more in three of their last four games. 

Although they are trending in the right direction, a healthy Berkman would give the Rangers one more threat that Ron Washington desperately needs in the batting order. 


Other Notes

In other news, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Chicago White Sox are cutting outfielder Dewayne Wise’s second stint with the club short:

Wise, who hit .234 in 30 games for the Sox this year, also played for Chicago in 2008 and 2009. He was released by the Yankees in late 2012 and decided to return to the White Sox to close out last season’s campaign. Wise signed a one-year contract to return to the team this offseason.

Scott Merkin of MLB.com added this tidbit on Wise on Twitter:

Although his time with the club has apparently come to an end, Wise will certainly be remembered for his home run-saving catch in the ninth inning during Mark Buehrle’s 2009 perfect game. 

In other player news, the San Diego Padres have reportedly signed a new shortstop. 

MLB.com’s Corey Brock reported on Saturday that Ronny Cedeno had signed a minor league deal with San Diego:

A career .245 hitter in 830 games, Cedeno played in 51 contests for the Houston Astros this season. If he finds his way to the big leagues with the Padres, they would be his sixth professional franchise. 


Follow B/R’s Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter. 

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Texas Rangers Reportedly Sign Free Agent Lance Berkman

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Texas Rangers will sign free agent Lance Berkman to a one-year deal, which may include a vesting option. Berkman had been leaning toward retirement, but this deal signals an apparent change of heart.

The Rangers have been in the market for a bat all offseason. The addition of Berkman should help fill that void and give manager Ron Washington plenty of options with his lineup.

Berkman is coming off an injury-plagued season that saw him play in just 32 games for the Cardinals. His first DL stint was due to a calf injury in May. He returned in July, but went out again with a torn meniscus that required surgery. Berkman would undergo a second meniscus surgery after re-injuring himself in September. 

In 2011 he showed that he still had the potential to be an impact bat, hitting 31 home runs and driving in 94 runs while batting in the middle of the Cardinals order. He also hit .301 and had an on-base percentage of .412.  

For Texas, Berkman is likely to hit in the designated hitter spot, and may occasionally play first base. Berkman is a switch hitter, and could enter into a right-handed platoon with Mitch Moreland as the Rangers will also be looking to squeeze Mike Olt’s bat into the lineup.

Berkman will be 37 years old on opening day. If he remains healthy, he could provide the Rangers some of the offense they have been in search of all offseason after losing Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young.

The addition of Berkman gives the Rangers a potential middle-of-the-order hitter to bat with Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre. I could very easily see Berkman batting cleanup, breaking up the two right-handed hitters, or used as protection in the five-hole. 

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Texas Rangers Sign Veteran Lance Berkman

Free-agent first baseman-outfielder Lance Berkman has agreed to a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers, according to Houston Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart via Twitter on Saturday:


According to FOX Sports senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal, the deal will be somewhere in the $10 million to $11 million range:


A six-time All-Star, Berkman has accomplished a ton since breaking through into the majors with the Houston Astros in 1999, including winning National League Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2011. 

The veteran will turn 37 on Feb. 10, but clearly the Rangers still believe Berkman can provide them with some experience and a big bat. 

Prior to becoming a free agent, Berkman played two seasons in St. Louis with the Cardinals, helping them win the World Series title in 2011. He batted .259 in 32 games for St. Louis last season, recording 21 hits and only two home runs in 81 at-bats. Berkman was much more productive in 2011, however, batting .301 with 488 appearances at the plate for the Cards. 

His postseason play in 2011 for the Cards was nothing short of clutch. He batted .313 over the course of 18 playoff games to help St. Louis clinch the World Series.

Berkman played his first 11-and-a-half MLB seasons in Houston before being traded to the New York Yankees in July 2010. He signed with St. Louis in 2011 and is now set to join his fourth MLB team in Texas.

Berkman is a native of Waco, attended Canyon High School in Texas and then played his college baseball at Rice University, where he won National College Player of the Year honors in 1997.

Keep it right here for the latest information and updates on MLB free-agent signings this offseason. 


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MLB Free Agency 2013: New York Yankees Interested in Reunion with Lance Berkman?

Two years ago, the New York Yankees made a bold move at the trade deadline.

They acquired long-time slugger Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros for unknown prospects and at the time, it seemed like a steal of a trade.

In the 37 games that he played for with the Bombers, Berkman was hardly the slugging hitter that was advertised, as he hit .255 with one home run and nine RBI.

However, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Yankees are interested in the free agent again.


Berkman did hit well for the Yankees in the 2010 playoffs, as he hit .312 that October for the Bombers.

After he left the Yankees to become a free agent, Berkman went back to the All-Star slugger that we all knew as a member of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, hitting 31 home runs with 94 RBI and finishing seventh in the N.L. MVP voting.

Berkman was limited to just 32 games in 2012 due to knee injuries that required surgery.

Some people thought that Berkman might in fact retire at the end of the season, but he is drawing a lot of interest from different teams.

Aside from the Yankees, Berkman has interest from the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and his old team, the Houston Astros, who are now part of the American League for the first time.

The Astros would make sense given that Berkman spent 12 years of his career there, and even though they have signed Carlos Pena, the team remains interested in him.

Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston has confirmed that the Rangers do in fact have an offer on the table for Berkman to be their DH in 2013 and would love to have him in their lineup.

With the Yankees losing out on Raul Ibanez to the Seattle Mariners, they too need a DH for 2013, which is why their interest in the 36-year-old makes sense.

When healthy, Berkman is a switch-hitter who can not only DH, but play first base and the outfield, although given his knee issues from 2012, DH duties would be best suited for him.

Personally, I think it’ll be tough for the Yankees to lure Berkman back to the Bronx given that two teams from Texas are heavily interested in him.

The one thing the Yankees do have in their corner is one of Berkman’s good friends and former Astros teammates, Andy Pettitte.

Berkman and Pettitte played together from 2004-2006 in Houston and then again with the Yankees in 2010 and Pettitte could influence Berkman to come back for one more try with the team.

It’s a long shot, and given how the first try with the team went, it’s an incredible long shot.

But you never know with the Yankees, and if they feel a desperate need for a bat like Berkman, they might be willing to spend a little more on a one-year deal.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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MLB Free Agency: Lance Berkman to the Red Sox Would Make Sense

In her piece for ESPN.com’s Sweet Spot blog, Christina Kahrl makes a compelling case for what the Boston Red Sox need to do this winter to remain contenders in 2013.

In general, the theme of the piece focuses on how the team can be competitive next season while not breaking the bank on any one particular free agent. Instead, she outlines five strategic moves that can be made to bolster the team for relatively short money with flexibility in mind.

The first move, and likely the biggest signing of the winter as suggested by Kahrl, would be for the Red Sox to sign veteran 1B/DH/OF Lance Berkman to a one-year deal to play first base.

Initially, the collective groan of Red Sox Nation could be heard throughout the airwaves in Boston when the team was rumored to be “kicking the tires” on Berkman, as he told the Houston Chronicle.

The last thing Red Sox fans want to see is the team overpay for big names.

However, signing Berkman gives the team a few very important tangibles. First, the acquisition tells opponents that the team is still willing to spend on a slugger that will help to bolster the middle of your lineup.

The added bonus is the fact that he is a switch hitter and could complement David Ortiz nicely.

His power numbers, although diminished over the past couple of years, are still better than what one could expect from a tandem of Mauro Gomez and Jerry Sands. He is only one season removed from hitting 31 home runs in 145 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.

In addition, his veteran presence will help to mold the ballclub for the future. He is a solid clubhouse guy who can be a strong mentor to some of the younger talent on the squad.

Statistically, Berkman owns a lifetime .296/.409/.544/.953 batting line with 360 home runs in his 14-year career.

Remarkably, he has only played 31 games in American League East ballparks, offering an extremely small sample size of production.

For example, in his four games at Fenway Park, Berkman owns has four hits in 14 at-bats with a double, two RBI, four base on balls and a .286/.444/.357/.802 batting line.

He has played 12 games in Baltimore where he went 12/43 with three home runs, six RBI and posted a .279/.396/.488/.885 batting line.

The one hitch in signing Berkman is his asking price. As he told the Houston Chronicle, he is waiting to be “blown away” by an offer, or would be content retiring.

One would guess that a one-year deal would have to be made for somewhere between $12-$14 million annually to bring Berkman to Boston.

That said, if the Red Sox were to sign Berkman and the ship, once again, fails to sail into the playoffs, he would be an easy piece to trade away to a contending team come July or August while only costing the Sox money.

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Lance Berkman and Houston Astros May Explore a Possible Reunion

ESPN.com is reporting free agent Lance Berkman visited the Houston Astros and discussed possibly signing with his former team to finish his illustrious career. Although he is near the end, a reunion between the Puma and the Astros would be a fitting conclusion to his career and could also possibly benefit the team.

Berkman is about to turn 37 and only played a total of 32 games in 2012. However, he was still effective when he played, posting a .826 OPS. A performance anywhere near that level in 2013 would be extremely valuable to the Astros.

Berkman spent the first 1,592 games and 11-plus seasons of his MLB career with the Astros, hitting .296 with 326 home runs and 1,090 RBI, while making five All-Star teams. He is the franchise’s greatest all-time hitter of outside of Jeff Bagwell

The Astros offense needs to fundamentally change because of their 2013 shift to the American League. They were already the lowest scoring team in the majors in 2012, making it even more difficult to fill an additional spot in their lineup that was previously held by the pitcher.

If Berkman does come to terms with Houston, he would be used mainly as DH, although he could also fill in at first base on occasion. Adding a hitter of Berkman’s pedigree would simply be a major potential upgrade at any position.

Last season nobody on the Astros hit more than 18 home runs or drove in more than 55 runs, which represented the lowest number of RBI to lead an MLB team in a single season since catcher Tom Haller led the 1968 Los Angeles Dodgers with 53.

There would be no guarantees that Berkman could stay healthy or continue being a productive hitter, but it’s a gamble worth making. It was only 2011 when he hit .301 with 31 home runs and 94 RBI while appearing in 145 games for the St. Louis Cardinals.


The switch-hitting Berkman represents good hitting fundamentals, given his career .409 OBP. His presence in the Houston lineup could only help positively influence the team’s other young and unproven hitters.

Signing Berkman won’t break the bank for the Astros. With his injury problems and advancing age, he is not likely to have a large number of suitors. A team like Houston that can offer him familiarity and a chance to DH may be the optimal environment for him to finish out his career.

Berkman indicated that he will make up his mind whether or not to play in the coming months. A lot will hinge on his heath and the type of interest he garners from teams.

It will be a nice story Berkman and the Astros agree that they are a good match for each other. It’s always nice when a star can finish his career in the same city where he started. If Berkman can prove he still has something left in the tank he will not only provide a happy ending but also help the Astros with their transition to the American League.


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Houston Astros Bring Up Jimmy Paredes from the Lance Berkman Deal

With all of the trades of veteran players the Astros engaged in this season, it is a deal in 2010 that is about to pay off dividends.

Lance Berkman was as good a Houston Astros player that put on the uniform in the past decade. Maybe he was not on the same level as Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell.

But in his 12 years with Houston, starting with the 1999 NL Central Champs, he put up all-star numbers. He led the league in RBI in 2002 and finished in the top ten for the MVP vote five times.

He called the Astrodome home and later helped lead the Astros to their only pennant, crushing a key grandslam in the 2005 Division Series against Atlanta.

But when Berkman’s skills were diminishing along with the Astros pennant hopes, Houston sent him packing to the defending World Champion Yankees in 2010. He would not win a World Series in New York but in 2011 as a member of the Cardinals, he kept St. Louis’ hopes alive by tying Game Six of the 2011 World Series with two outs and two strikes on him in the bottom of the 10th.

He would get his ring as a Cardinal, the same team he fought so hard against in the 2004 and 2005 NLCS.

According to NBCSports.com, Berkman is probably going to retire after this season.

Meanwhile the Astros compensation of Berkman is on his way to the majors.

Jimmy Paredes has been recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. The 23-year-old Domincan was a third baseman for most of his minor league career before making a switch to the outfield this year. He played 46 games in the majors last season and batted a respectable .286 with an OPS of .713 in Houston.

This year he has excelled in Triple-A. He batted .318 with 13 homers and 37 stolen bases as he made the Pacific Coast League All Stars. The switch hitter is second in the league for total bases and brings power and speed to his game.

According to Astros.com, Houston General Manager Jeff Luhnow believes Paredes will be a top of the order hitter. “Our plan right now” he said, “is to play him in right field and get him accustomed to Minute Maid Park.”

Of course right field was where Lance Berkman started 233 times as a member of the Astros.

So as Berkman and a great part of the Astros past goes into the night, his legacy could go on with each Paredes stolen base and gap shot.

Additionally, the other part of the Lance Berkman compensation was reliever Mark Melancon, who is currently having a subpar year in Boston.

But the Astros flipped him for infielder Jed Lowrie, who was having a nice season with 14 homers before an ankle injury sidelined him.

If Lowrie comes back next year at age 29, the Astros could have two contributors from the Berkman deal. Not a bad first few steps into the future.

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4 Reasons the St. Louis Cardinals Are Legit Contenders Without Chris Carpenter

The St. Louis Cardinals should still be viewed as serious contenders in the second half of the 2012 MLB season despite the loss of Chris Carpenter.

While the loss of any team’s co-ace starting pitcher is a huge blow, the Cardinals have already shown this year that they have what it takes to weather the storm.

In Carpenter’s absence, the team has put together an impressive first half.

With as many as seven key players on the disabled list at once, the Cardinals pushed through a tough May and a tougher early June to find themselves only 2.5 games out of first place and six games over .500 at the All-Star break.

Given the Cardinals’ tough schedule in June and the problems they faced, they could easily be much farther down in the standings.

Following are four reasons the Cardinals will still be legitimate contenders without Carpenter.

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St. Louis Cardinals: Latest Updates on the Most Crucial Injuries

The St. Louis Cardinals have certainly faced their share of adversity in 2012.

As injury after injury has swept through the team, they have managed to stay competitive. Even through slumps, the Cardinals still remain less than three games out of the National League Central lead.

While the Cardinals disabled list has thinned recently with the return of Skip Schumaker, Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Matt Carpenter, there are still a handful of impact players out of the lineup.

The Cardinals are 7-3 since their return through Monday, July 2. Prior to that, the team was 7-11 in the month of June.

All who remain are making progress, but some faster than others.

Continue reading for updates on those who remain on the disabled list.

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MLB Free Agency: Jose Valverde, Kevin Youkilis and 5 Contract-Year Disasters

Whenever an athlete is playing on the last year of his or her contract, it is crucial to have a good season in order to parlay that success into a long-term deal.

No matter a player’s age, if he shows he can perform at a substantial level, he will greatly enhance his chances of a long-term deal.

Every free-agent class has its top-tier players, but for every good player that maintains their previous levels of excellence, such as Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke, there are guys who do not perform as well when the money is on the line. 

There are a variety of reasons why these players fail. Whether it is age, luck or simply an inability to handle the big moments, their stats do not live up to their expectations heading into the season.

Here are five guys who are having disastrous seasons in their contract year.

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