A year ago, the Yankees' big midsummer acquisitions were named Hinske and Hairston, but the team won the World Series. After missing out on Cliff Lee and Dan Haren, Brian Cashman went after one of the more recognizable hitters available and got him. Lance Berkman waived his no-trade clause and will head to New York in exchange for minor leaguers Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes. The deal is now official.
Berkman, who vetoed a trade to the White Sox, brings a .245/.372/.436 line to the Bronx. The 34-year-old switch hitter comes with a substantial price tag, but the Astros are contributing $4MM or so of the $7.1MM owed to Berkman. He can become a free agent after the season, since the $15MM option for 2011 is now mutual (it was a club option). Berkman is in the midst of a disappointing offensive year, but he did post a .907 OPS in 2009.
Melancon had brief stints with the Yankees this year and last year, but most of his pro experience has come in the minor leagues. The right-hander has a 3.67 ERA in Triple A this year with 9.3 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9. The high walk rate is alarming, but the 25-year-old had never posted a walk rate higher than 2.3 BB/9 at any minor league stop before this year. Baseball America ranked Melancon 15th among all Yankees prospects before the season, citing his closer's mentality and strong makeup.
Paredes, 21, is a switch-hitting infielder who has played second, short and third. He has stolen 36 bases in 46 attempts at A ball this year and has a .282/.312/.408 line. Unlike Melancon, he did not place in Baseball America's top 30 Yankees prospects before the season.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the deal was imminent, that it was complete, some financial details and that the Yanks gave up Melancon and Paredes. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, ESPN.com's Buster Olney, Alyson Footer of the Astros, USA Today's Bob Nightengale, MLB.com's Scott Merkin and Jon Heyman of SI.com also contributed to the story.