Berkman Will Seek Everyday Role

Asked whether he could picture himself returning to the Yankees in a platoon role next year, Lance Berkman couldn't see it happening, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork. Berkman tells Kristie Ackert, Sean Brennan, and Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News that he still views himself as an everyday player.

"I don't like to platoon," said Berkman. "If I was the manager I would platoon me because I've been so bad righthanded this year. But I don't think that's a permanent problem…. I like to play every day. The DH role is great but I also like to play the field. I feel like I've got something to offer still defensively."

Berkman is in the final year of a six-year, $85MM contract, which includes a $15MM option for 2011 that will not be exercised. After posting the worst full-season OPS of his career (.781), the long-time Astro knows that his disappointing walk year hasn't set him up well for free agency. 

"It's going to be an interesting offseason for me because I don't know what the interest level is going to be like," Berkman said. "I don't know what the market is going to be for a 35-year old coming off the worst year of his career."

While this winter's first base free agent market appears flush with potential starters, there are also plenty of clubs that will have holes to fill at first. Coming off a season that was plagued by injuries, Berkman is a decent bet to bounce back in 2011. If he wants an everyday job and a chance to play the field, there's a good chance there will be at least one team willing to accommodate him.

33 Responses to Berkman Will Seek Everyday Role Leave a Reply

  1. DutchTiger 5 years ago

    If the Tigers don’t get Ordonez back for DH, then Berkman could be a nice option for that position.

    • The problem there is that there are so many others that can fill the same role that aren’t coming off such a poor season. Berkman may have a choice between starting on a loser or platooning and DH’ing on a winner. Or he may not have much choice at all. I’d bet on him rebounding ahead of Pena, though.

      • DutchTiger 5 years ago

        I do agree. His career numbers are not bad though and he is a switch hitter normally. Because of the poor season he can be had for cheap and probably at a short term deal. He is a typical buy low potential high reward guy. I’d rather have him over Dunn, simply because of the $$. But not over Thome, for example.

        However, I am not sure which parts of the field he hits to though. If he hits mainly to left than I’ll eat my words, because the left field in Houston is considerably shorter than Comerica Park.

  2. He’d fit with the Rays pretty well. He can either DH or play 1B if/when Pena doesn’t come back.

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      If they can get him on a cheap one year deal, sure. But I’m betting he’s gonna try to price himself out of the Rays budget. Nats could be a fit if they lose out on Dunn, Pena, and Loney.

      • Who’s going to pay him? He can ask for a big contract, but he’s an aging 1B/DH coming off of a down year. There’s normally not a big market for those guys, and they don’t get paid. I think Berkman is one of those guys that understands this.

        As for the Nats, they could be a good fit too, but I’d pick Berkman over Loney. Why give up talent for Casey Kotchman v2.0 when you can sign Berkman on the cheap and probably get better production?

        • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

          I didn’t say the Rays couldn’t afford him but rather he’d demand more than they might be willing to offer and there’s always some desperate GM who makes a bad offer based on a player’s history. And I’d bet on Berkman over Loney too but recent rumors have the Nats in on Loney if he hits the market.

    • basemonkey 5 years ago

      I slightly disagree with ‘purple, but his logic is sound.

      I think Berkman is at the phase of his quality career where he’s made his money and is looking for a chance to win. So, the Rays might be the best option if it’s there. He’s already had a huge payday. I think he’s looking for a chance to win. If he only gets offers to stay in the big leagues with, say, losing teams, it comes down to how badly he wants to keep playing baseball, winning or not, at which point he might just opt to retire.

  3. qudjy1 5 years ago


  4. basemonkey 5 years ago

    Orioles? A team with a big hole at 1B and a DH.

    The current 1B Free Agent options will be Dunn, Konerko, Peña, Lee, maybe Huff. Probably about that order. Each of those guys have mitigating circumstances that put them in question for Baltimore. Since Berkman is long in the tooth, I can see Berkman signing a “Last Chance” deal to stay in the bigs. A team like the Orioles, who is buying time for their young nucleus to mature, usually makes that kind of deal. Also in that conversation is Peña and Lee.

    • Slopeboy 5 years ago

      I agree. Berkman is a grinder and a solid player who is just starting to lose his skills because of age. He can still be productive and is the type of player that Showalter has had on other teams and has used to improve quickly.

  5. oremlk 5 years ago

    I can see somebody maybe being willing to go to two years on Berkman if the dollar cost wasn’t too high. Even with the sharp decline his OBP skills still made him a solid everyday first baseman, and the possibility of a rebound will draw some interest.

  6. ClimaClub 5 years ago

    he would be a good fit on the jays, play some 1st/dh. The team is looking for some power from the left side with good plate discipline.

    • ukJaysfan 5 years ago

      I could see that, but does he want to play on a building team? He just bolted one for the playoff bound Yankees. I think he’d want a obvious contender. Just my two cents.

  7. Redbirds16 5 years ago

    Baltimore in a DH-1B-C combination with VMart and Wieters?

    • Beaned1 5 years ago

      if Vmart doesnt come to Baltimore, then Berkman might be a good fit.

  8. I could see Berkman going almost anywhere there is a need for a 1b without much money to spend. Rays, Cubs, Giants, Rangers, Braves, Mariners etc etc….. He’s not a long term option but he could still be pretty good in 2011. He could also be even worse than this year so he’s a gamble but that .781 OPS isn’t terrible and since it’s the worst of his career there would seem to be a better chance of him bouncing back rather than hitting the wall, at least for the next year or two. Like I said, he’s a gamble but given his talent level he’s worth a shot.

    • Braves don’t need a 1B, Freddie Freeman will be starting for us next year. There will be cheaper options if we want a veteran back-up.

      • oremlk 5 years ago

        Maybe Freeman will be starting for the Braves. He’s only 20. They might want to give him a little more time at AAA depending on how the coaches feel about his progress.

        • When your GM comes out and says that Freeman will be the starter in 2011, I think it’s pretty definite that he’ll be starting. Wren said something along those lines when Freeman got the September call-ups. And if you look at Freeman’s numbers from AAA this year, the kid is ready.

          • It’s really hard for a team that hopes to contend to depend on such a young kid at a position that is an offensive one like 1b. Not to mention the fact that he could bomb, or at the very least struggle. They may expect him to be the starter but going into the season with him as the only option probably isn’t going to happen.

          • Nor will they bring in someone like Berkman, as I said. Expensive back-ups aren’t what the Braves do. The Braves will probably bring back Hinske, or someone like him, and rely on him as the primary back-up to Freeman.

            All I’m saying is that with Freeman ready to be our starter at 1B and with our financial constraints, Berkman really isn’t an option for us.

    • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

      good chance Huff returns to SF

    • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

      good chance Huff returns to SF

  9. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    I’d really like for him to sign with the Pirates, but only if it’s for one year with not a lot of money, which I don’t really see happening.

    • Slopeboy 5 years ago

      Can’t see that at all. Pittsburgh won’t pay and he just escaped a losing environment. Given his choice, he settle on either money or a contending team.

  10. Backup_Slider 5 years ago

    Those quotes are very typical of Berkman – he’s extremely candid to the point of being somewhat self-deprecating at times. The real question with him looking forward is how problematic are his knees and what are the prognoses for them long-term. If he cannot recover to the point of being a productive everyday player, then he’s probably an ALer from here on out and will have to do his fair share of DHing whether he wishes to or not. Most likely I see an AL team signing him to 2-year deal in the vicinity of $6M per year – a contract that is flexible enough to allow the buyer to flip him for prospects (he’s essentially become a switch-hitting Adam LaRoche, only older and with bad knees).

    • I think Berkman is still a productive hitter. He’s had one down year at the plate (this year) but he still seems like a guy who can be a solid producer at the position. Additionally, even with his issues he was actually above average defensively at 1B this year (and most years before that). To me, I think that definitely warrants a shot in the field. I would be more worried that his bat didn’t carry than his glove.

      With that said, an AL team would be a much better fit. Somewhere that he could DH part time to keep him fresh.

  11. I thought Berkman said he wanted to go back to the Astros? Or not? I even thought he said he didn’t want to go back to NY. It sounds like he would but, Posada/Montero I guess will be the platoon DH’s.

    • The Astros may take him back but they may not. Brett Wallace struggled in his two months in the bigs and Carlos Lee split time there and looked better there than he did in left field.

      Houston will have salary room if he doesn’t ask for big money but I don’t think he’ll be guaranteed to start. If the Yankees get Berkman the ring he craves, I could see him returning to the Astros or signing with the Rangers. Unless he’s promised a full-time gig, I’m not sure he wouldn’t retire before being a part-timer outside of Texas.

  12. YankeeBaseball 5 years ago

    If he wants to play the field, I suggest he work with a physical trainer this off season. He was embarassingly out of shape when he arrived in New York.

  13. Six_Eight 5 years ago

    A part time player who still believes he should start every day.

  14. Wrek305 5 years ago

    Lance Berkman to the Cubs.. they haven’t had a good hitting 1st baseman since Derek Lee’s first year with them which was a total fluke hitting like 46HRs or what ever.. 2 yrs ago he should he had some comeback but he was horrid for the Cubs and Braves this year.. Berkman should consider the Cubs.. Nady suck plain and simple.. ARamirez pick up his option but they need to turn right around and trade him

    he would really just be a 4 month rental since the Cubs will be out of the playoff race in May again next year. he’ll be traded to a playoff team again blah blah blah

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