Berkman Willing To Waive No-Trade Clause

7:59pm: Berkman shared his side of the conversation he had with GM Ed Wade, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com:

"I'm not demanding to be traded," the five-time All-Star said. "I'm perfectly content to be a Houston Astro. We were just talking hypothetical."

McTaggart also points out that Berkman has said several times in recent years that he would be willing to waive his full no-trade clause if the situation was right.

5:48pm: Some within the Astros believe that Berkman may be trying to employ reverse psychology in an effort to pressure the club into picking up his option, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Houston owner Drayton McLane is not a fan of giving up on seasons or trading away veteran players.

Meanwhile, GM Ed Wade doesn't seem terribly concerned about Berkman's comments.  He recounted the conversation he had with the outfielder last night:

"Don’t worry about it, players have every right to make whatever comments they want to the media. Focus on showing up and winning tomorrow."

The 34-year-old is hitting .213/.327/.404 with 2 HRs in 55 plate appearances this season.

10:28am: Lance Berkman would be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the Astros approach him with a deal to a contender later this season, reports Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle.  Berkman explained his feelings:

"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.  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."

Berkman opined that the Astros should try to avoid what he calls "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."

Berkman's "take one for the team" approach to his no-trade clause is an interesting position, as a few months ago he talked about taking his ball and going home if the Astros didn't exercise his $15MM club option for 2011 after the season.  He does still prefer to retire an Astro.

As I mentioned yesterday, quitting on a season is not the Astros' style.  But Berkman, even at age 34 and coming off knee surgery, could give a contender an offensive boost while saving the Astros over $5MM.  The Red Sox, A's, White Sox, and Mariners could be fits if Berkman is open to DHing, while it's more difficult to find an NL contender with a first base opening.  Perhaps the Braves, depending on how Troy Glaus is doing a month or two from now.


58 Responses to Berkman Willing To Waive No-Trade Clause Leave a Reply

  1. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    At what point do people stop calling Chicago a contender? They’re 7 games out, and behind two clubs that don’t show any signs of slumping. They’re jockeying with Kansas City.

    The Pirates are in better contention than Chicago.

    • coldgoldenfalstaff 5 years ago

      Funny, the Twins have won anything yet, unless you get a trophy for best record in April.

      Truth is, the Sox have the pitching and are one hitter away from being right in the AL Central mix.

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        That’s fair, but doesn’t answer the question.

        Does 10 games out on june 1st end contention talk? Or do you finish the year 15 back still talking about being contenders “if only”?

    • Where do I start with this statement.

      1. It has only been like what, 30 games into the season?

      2. How far were the Twins out with like two months to go last season? 6 games?

      3. Don’t show any sign of slumping? Dude it has been 30 games, there are 162 in baseball. If it is after the all star break and the Tigers and Twins are still on a tear then let’s talk.

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        1. Yes. About 15% of the way into the season. A small, yet not insignificant, sample size. My question was at what point is it large enough to conclude the White Sox are no longer contenders?

        2. See above.

        3. The Twins and Detroit have shown themselves to lack any glaring holes, of which Chicago has a few. Their success is not a surprise. Chicago’s struggles are not a surprise (to most of us outside Illinois). Even if the Sox can fill those holes, they’re still starting from a deep deficit. Not to mention that if they did start to jump into contention, the Twins and Tigers could always answer with an upgrade themselves, again increasing the talent gap.

        So your answer is July 15th is when we stop calling Chicago contenders if they’re 10+ games back? Ok, that’s fair. That was all I was looking for.

      • Triteon 5 years ago

        Granted: the Sox are 28 games into the season and a lot of baseball is to be played. However, their Pythagorean record PJs to 68-94, -1 game to their current W%. That’s a lot of games to make up to reach the wild card. The Twins won their division with 87 wins in ’09, while Boston was the WC with 95 wins. The Sox may need to play to +28 wins over the next 134 games. That’s a lot to make up.

        • The 68-94 record is simply the current stats stretched out over the season. So to say we need to make up 24 wins is crazy logic.

          Again we are talking about a sample size under 30 games. It is stupid to be talking about this.

    • bigpat 5 years ago

      I’m sick of it too. I guess that world series they won a few years back will keep them relevant for a while even though the team is aging rapidly and doesn’t have much in the way of prospects to help it out.

      • kenhowes 5 years ago

        As one who likes the White Sox in the Central Division, I think that the White Sox are coming very close to the point at which they will be out of contention. They’re not out of it yet. The Twins have a rather unique history in that division. Year after year they’ve seemed to be out of it, then stormed back in during the summer. The White Sox haven’t done that. But I wouldn’t write off any team in early May. Let’s see where things are on July 1.

    • chetkincaid 5 years ago

      Wow…

      When did you guys clinch the division? I must have missed that…

  2. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Hey – this is what I wrote yesterday! Some Astros fan was suggesting that Berkman would never waive his NTC. My suggestion was that you tell him that the team is going young. He can either be surrounded by their AAA club and be on a team that will lose 100 games OR we can send you off to a contender and play in games that mean something.

    I’d approach Lee and Oswalt the same way. I’d also look at moving Pence and Rodriguez if the returns on Berkman, Oswalt, and Lee weren’t any good (and honestly, I doubt they will be any good given how much each player is owed). No use having Pence or Rodriguez on the club if you are doing a full retooling.

    • This is what I’d do as well. I wouldn’t bother trying to trade Pence, though. The way he’s been performing this season, you’re not going to get much back, and he anyway, he still has three more seasons of team control after this one.

    • East Coast Bias 5 years ago

      I’m with you until the second paragraph. Why move Pence and Wandy? You don’t ever want to field a “bad” team, just a young/inexpensive one. I understand rebuilding and cutting costs, but why get rid of young talent that you can build around for the future? You may get pieces that are younger and cheaper, but you have proven commodities with Pence and Wandy, who are still relatively young and cheap, and also under team control.

      Their future salaries shouldn’t sky rocket so just going year by year, whether through arbitration or 1 year deals is more financially responsible, while still giving the fans something to spend money and come to the park for.

      • Because Wandy is already 31 years old and has possibly the most trade value on the team, and he is also going to be a free agent after next season. He’s not young and he probably won’t be cheap, either, after arbitration next off-season.

        You’re probably right about Pence, though.

  3. invader3k 5 years ago

    It just depends on if the Astros’ ownership will allow Ed Wade to finally do the sell off they’ve needed for a while now. They have a habit of trying to fool the fans and hanging around in “fake contention” late into the season.

  4. lefty58 5 years ago

    Off to the Tigers or Red Sox?

    • j6takish 5 years ago

      Tigers really don’t need him, Roy Oswalt on the other hand…

    • Better not be the Red Sox or I think I may just cry…lol

  5. Berkman should be the GM of the Astros.

  6. Yankeeboy11 5 years ago

    I think the Astros can go get something good for Berkman. The Ms could use his offensive so could the Braves. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Redsox in this. I mean if he can play 1B they can go for Berkman if they don’t wanna give the Pads what they want for A-gon

    • coldgoldenfalstaff 5 years ago

      Astros fans don’t have a problem with dealing Berkman, Oswalt or Lee, but have a big problem where other teams’ fans think they can get them without paying up, as if the Astros need just salary relief.

      • I agree with that, but every time something like this comes up, Astros fans expect a king’s ransom in their trade demands (as though they were pulling the trigger anyway). You have to realize that the money being paid to the player IS a factor, as is the length of their contract. Oswalt would fetch more because of the contract length being longer, more reasonable in terms of dollars and because pitching is more valuable. But that said, he’s still paid 15-16M a year, so it’s not like he’s a bargain. You can’t get a king’s ransom in return for 1.5-2.5 years of THAT contract. He’s being paid market value, so the team acquiring him, no matter who it is, is NOT getting a steal like they would be if acquiring someone like Adrian Gonzalez. So if no money changes hands, you can’t think you are going to get the world in that deal. You’ll get some pieces, yes, but you aren’t trading Adrian Gonzalez who is making peanuts and is one of top 5 in his position. You are trading a #2 pitcher who is paid market value. BIG DIFFERENCE.

        So that’s my big gripe with Stros fans. Take Oswalt, give me Adrian’s asking price though. Same goes for Lee and Berkman. Sometimes, it’s not the NTC that keeps a player in the same uniform.

      • When it comes to Carlos Lee, well… we do just need salary relief. That is one terrible contract right there, sir.

        But yes, I would want legitimate prospects back for Oswalt and/or Berkman.

        • Compared to contracts signed in teh 2005-2006 boom era for baseball, Carlos Lee is the most consistent and reliable out of all the big money contracts. I honestly have not been that upset over it. Yes, it stings, but you can’t get everyone for Longoria money.

  7. kct003 5 years ago

    As an Astros fan, this would make me very sad but Lance deserves to play for a contender again. And I could actually see him going to another team for the stretch run then resigning with the Astros when his deal is up. He has said a lot how much he wants to retire an Astro.

  8. drumzalicious 5 years ago

    The M’s would be a much needed fit.

    • Yes! I think Mariners really need him and Z wants offensive help.

      • I have been saying it for a year now: go trade/sign Manny for the M’s. His value has dropped dramatically and would offer both more power and more contact then Lance.

  9. asfan2010 5 years ago

    Berkman would be a great fit in oakland and we knowbeane takes risks. They have enough farm system depth to throw several 2nd tier prospects for a couple months of berkman

  10. bbxxj 5 years ago

    Berk to the Braves as a LFer would b fantastic. Glaus has been hitting balls hard all over the place for a few weeks and just has the worst luck on the planet so I wouldn’t give up on him yet. LF on the other hand could use a Berkman.

    • coolstorybro222 5 years ago

      I totally agree.

    • andrewatl 5 years ago

      Imagine Chipper and Berkman hitting back to back. 2 switch hitters in a row who have similar approaches to batting.

    • kentavo 5 years ago

      Yes, yes, Braves need Berkman – through in Oswalt, too. Give ’em Escobar, Kawakami (can be buds with Matsui) and Melky. Moving Kawakami’s contract will give ’em enough flexibility to absorb Berkman and Os.

    • drumzalicious 5 years ago

      Berkman would be great on the Braves however he couldnt play LF because of that knee surgery.

      now if Chipper went down for the rest of the season then by all means shift Glaus to 3B and have Berkman play 1st

  11. aap212 5 years ago

    Just one more guy better qualified to run the Astros than the Ed/Tal/Drayton axis of denial.

  12. joshelwell 5 years ago

    I’d love to see Jed Hoyer trade for Lance Berkman to play LF.

  13. asfan2010 5 years ago

    Berkman to Oakland

    for

    2b/3b Adrian Cardenas
    LHP Pedro Figueroa
    Reliever Henry Rodriguez 100 mph fastball
    Reliever Sam Demel went to TCU
    OF Matt Sulentic Texas Native
    OF Jeremy Barfieldanother texas native
    SP Travis Banwart AA pitcher

    • Robert Slye Jr. 5 years ago

      I see this happening… Never. That’s an awful lot to give up for Berkman. I don’t see the A’s going after him both because of his high salary and for the fact that the A’s have plenty of DH/1B types available in AAA.

  14. BrocNessMonster 5 years ago

    Berkman for Loney. Yeah?

  15. BoSoxSam 5 years ago

    Berkman to Boston? Hmm. I doubt they would even make a strong push for A-Gon this year because of their inflexible roster, so I’d be even more surprised to see them go for a 34 yr old Berkman off of surgery. Shocked, more like. Now, if in the next couple of days, they release Ortiz and Lowell, sure. Now they have the room to go get em a DH. Until then, I don’t see a fit with Boston at all.

    • I’ve come on this website like every hour this week to see if they dropped Ortiz yet, they still haven’t, and i intend on still waiting.

      • fitz 5 years ago

        If he keeps showing flashes of his former self like he did last night then he will keep buying himself time. Last night he bought himself at least another week or two. I think they end up keeping him.

        • johnsilver 5 years ago

          Those flashes consist of hitting an occasional solo HR to the off field from a pitcher who has a poor (slow) FB, or hangs an off speed pitch, he still cannot get around on a MLB average FB and even if he does manage to get a hit or 2 in a game, the next 3 Ortiz will strand 5-8 baserunners every single game.

          Not that the Sox need to go out and get another high priced guy like Berkman, just let Hermedia and Lowell platoon as the LH/RH DH when Ells and Cameron finally get back and give ortiz that pink slip he has been begging for the last season and a half.

  16. Vail Beach 5 years ago

    Another vote for Berkman to replace James Loney on the Dodgers. The only problem is, Loney is one of the Dodgers’ few plus defenders, who has to cover for a still-learning Blake DeWitt at 2b, and a rotating cast of fielders at SS and 3b, some good some not so good, due to injuries and age. But his offense is less than what a team should expect at 1b, so they’re going to have to replace him eventually. Berkman would be a nice fill-in.

    • Hmm. Maybe.

      -It gives the Dodgers a first baseman who actually has enough power to hit well in Dodger stadium.
      -Even though he is a much worse hitter than Berkman, Loney does hit better on the road, so he might be at least average at first base for the Astros. Plus he’s younger and under team control.

      On the downside, Loney may not be all that well suited to hitting at MMP either, as a LHB who hits to all fields, slightly favoring CF and RF. So I don’t think you could take his road numbers at face value.

      The biggest problem standing in the way is that the Astros really need prospects or guys with 4+ years of team control, not guys who have already been in the bigs a few years and aren’t that far from free agency.

      Maybe if Houston takes on some of Berkman’s salary and LA gives back a B- prospect in return?

  17. Josh_Beloff 5 years ago

    I’m glad Berkman mentions baseball purgatory here, as it shows how Drayton McLane has neglected the Astros’ future in order to field a team that has walked the fine line between adequacy and mediocrity since 06 just to appear competitive as long as Berkman and Oswalt are around. I can’t remember the last time the organization has had any depth. I feel that rebuilding should take awhile, as while they have the pitching and monetary resources to be competent relatively soon, they need to develop some consistent offense, defense and athleticism all-around.

  18. joedittmore 5 years ago

    seattle needs A BIG BAT LOOK OUT FOR TRADER JACK CALLING FOR LANCE.

  19. joedittmore 5 years ago

    seattle needs A BIG BAT LOOK OUT FOR TRADER JACK CALLING FOR LANCE.

  20. 55saveslives 5 years ago

    What is his buyout? I’m not sure he’s worth $15 next year.

  21. The buyout is $2M, so it’s a $13M net option. He’s worth it if he’s healthy, which he has to show in the next few months.

    He’s definitely worth $13M if he proves that he’s not beginning some steep decline. Berkman was quietly one of the best players of the last decade.

  22. 55saveslives 5 years ago

    Yeah a 2 mill buyout is chicken feed for an MLB team…

    His power would be nice for a playoff run!

  23. Where do the Giants put him?? I know he has played outfield before but with the injuries can he still play outfield?

  24. He’s only under contract until the end of the season. It’s not really a big risk since 2011 is a team option only, not guaranteed money. I don’t know if he has the range or the desire to play left field anymore, though.

  25. Guest 5 years ago

    yea lf might be pushing it, but if he could play 1st thatd be great. this team desperately needs consistency in the core of it’s lineup. perhaps ship glaus and some prospects to houston for the guy? granted, that would only happen if BOTH players start to turn things around, but in that scenario it’d make sense for both teams. houston would have a decent offensive player for now (the owner would like that), players that can help the team later, and a ton of salary relief. the braves would have a nice 3-4-5 in their lineup.

    i admit, though, it’s no sure thing that glaus will turn it around enough to be attractive to houston… and of course, i’d like to have my cake and eat it, too: berkman at first, chipper at third, and glaus and hinske backing up both for nothing but middle prospects… hey, i had to do the typical mlbtr thing and throw out a dumb trade proposal, which we all know has nothing to do with baseball conversation and everything to do with boredom-driven rosterbating to get us over the fact that our favorite team is struggling and lost again last night.

  26. I agree with the prospects for such a proven arm, but… Roy is a true number 2, not a true ace. His track record shows that. He is so close to being an ace, but not a true ace. I am an Astros fan and I can recognize this. The guys excels and has excelled out of the #2 and #3 spot his entire career. His contract is more than fair for what he brings. You can have 2 20 game winners on a staff with him firing out of a later rotation spot, he has done it before.

    Berkman, Berkman, Berkman… God I love you man, but this is not the year to be slumping when your 15m is on the line. Step up your game like every other player does their pre-FA season! We need you in Houston! Killer B’s for life!

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