THURSDAY, 5:00pm: Astros owner Drayton McLane told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that they'll focus on Berkman's situation "during the season or the latter part of the season." McLane also noted that Berkman and Roy Oswalt are the heartbeat of the Astros.
WEDNESDAY, 4:26pm: Bernando Fallas of the Houston Chronicle talked to Astros first baseman Lance Berkman, who is prepared to move on after the season if his $15MM club option is declined. Said Berkman:
"If they don’t pick it up, I'll probably take my ball and go home. If they don’t pick up my option, then to me that says they may like me to come back at a discount but they don't really want me. If that's the case, then I'll just see what else is out there."
Berkman, 34, didn't rule out retirement, but said he's likely to keep playing. GM Ed Wade essentially must decide if he wants Berkman on a one-year, $13MM deal, since his buyout costs $2MM. Berkman is coming off a fine .274/.399/.509 line in a season some considered an off-year. The 2011 free agent market could feature a few other big-name first basemen in Adam Dunn, Derrek Lee, and Carlos Pena.