Talks Slow Between Berkman, Cardinals

Contract talks between right fielder Lance Berkman and the Cardinals have slowed due to a difference of opinion over the player's worth, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Ideally the Cardinals would wrap up new contracts with Berkman and Rafael Furcal before month's end, leaving fewer question marks heading into the Albert Pujols negotiations.  They extended Chris Carpenter earlier this month.

Berkman had plenty to say to Strauss on the topic of his next contract.  He told Strauss "this is not an adversarial situation," but explained, "It's always about money.  No matter what people say, it's always about the money."

Berkman made additional comments that imply the Cardinals are trying to attach an option year or incentives to a potential one-year deal, whereas he wants one year with no strings attached.  Berkman appears to believe that he'll be taking a discount to re-sign with St. Louis, as in his opinion his production isn't that far off from Pujols and Prince Fielder.

The big difference is that Berkman will turn 36 in February, and the over/under on his games played for 2012 should be set around 135.  His production with the Cardinals has returned to his '08 level, as Berkman is hitting .299/.412/.558 with 31 home runs in 549 plate appearances.  I think a salary around $12MM would be a fair compromise.


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31 Comments on "Talks Slow Between Berkman, Cardinals"


chico65
3 years 10 months ago

Well that’s interesting- I would have thought he would be looking for more years guaranteed vs. under team control, instead he’s trying to ensure that it’s only a year?  I wonder what he’s thinking.  Maybe he’s banking on repeating this year next year and one final larger contract (at age 37 though?), or maybe he doesn’t want to commit to being in St. Louis longterm with the uncertainty around Pujols and management.

3 years 10 months ago

No, he said earlier in the year that he’s at an age where year to year contracts are what he’ll be going after.

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

Yeah, I get that.  I guess I’m just surprised.  So many of these guys are about banking every last cent they can get, I’d just figure him to leverage his strong season into as much $$$ as possible.  Apparently he’s no Curt Schilling, trying to grab a few extra mil on his way out the door.  Very refreshing. 

rizdak
3 years 10 months ago

Berkman should just take whatever the Cards offer. Who else will overpay an aging veteran based on 1 year’s performance – the Yankees? Oh, wait…

stl_cards16
3 years 10 months ago

Berkman will be a very nice option for whoever misses out on the Fielder, Pujols sweepstakes.  He has proven he can still hit and play in the outfield.  No reason for him not to get 12-15MM especially if he is taking a one year deal.

MadmanTX
3 years 10 months ago

You guys just assume that Berkman has options elsewhere. Where can he go? Or…where can he go that he wants to go? He made it clear he wants to stay with St. Louis when they were thinking about trading him. He turned down going to Texas to play with a contender–he’s better off in St. Louis and should count his lucky stars to be there at all.

stl_cards16
3 years 10 months ago

Where can he go that he wants to go, is a question none of us can answer.  But if he is willing to take a one year deal, there will be all kinds of teams that would give him over $10MM on a one year deal.  He has shown he can play LF,RF, and 1B this year. 

Just off the top of my head he could make sense for….A’s, Giants, Braves, Rangers, Brewers(if they lose Prince), Cubs, Nationals, Blue Jays…..

When did he turn down going to Texas?  There were reports that Texas had some interest in him, but not enough to justify them giving up the kind of prospects the Cardinals would want in return.  He will be a Type A free agent and the Cardinals want to bring him back is why he wasn’t traded.  He had no veto power in a trade at all.

3 years 10 months ago

In the offseason berk said the rangers offered him a two year deal which he turned down to come to stl.

Bluebirdz
3 years 10 months ago

“he has proven he can hit and *barely play the outfield”

Your welcome

rayking
3 years 10 months ago

It probably makes sense to let Berkman walk if he requires $12 mil. Yes, he’s a had a great year, especially in keeping the Cards afloat early in the season during Albert’s slow start, but Craig has shown that he is capable to man RF.

If StL resigns Albert, the cost-effective route of using Craig in RF would help to avoid dumpster-diving or using AAAA guys for other positions like SS (if Furcal isn’t resigned) or 2B. There definitely will be a hole at 2B to fill – goodbye Erriot and Skip.

Redbirds16
3 years 10 months ago

See, I was thinking Berkman would take a 2 year, incentive laden deal with a relatively low annual salary and a vesting option for a third. Bobby Abreu style. Maybe a full or partial no-trade clause added in.

3 years 10 months ago

I still think this deal will get done.  Skip will likely be back for his versatility and decent bat for such a guy.  Unless they think Greene and Chambers can make it next year.

stl_cards16
3 years 10 months ago

Skip, versatility?  I’m pretty sure we have enough guys on the team that can be bad at multiple positions.

Redbirds16
3 years 10 months ago

I think Allen Craig gives the Cards depth corner OF/1B.  If the Cards don’t sign Pujols nor Berkman, they’ll certainly have some $$ to spend on other areas (middle infield, closer, LHRP). I don’t think they’re banking on Greene or Chambers at all, although I know they were hoping to see what they really had in Tyler Greene. Problem is they got back in the thick of things thanks to ATL’s shaky play of late. 

Skip is a non-tender candidate as he’s probably not worth the pricetag of his final arb year. Didn’t Mo already say it plainly enough that he’d like to have a good bit sorted out with Pujols before the arb deadline (so he can figure out what he’s going to do with Schumaker, Dotel and other potential arb guys). 

The_BiRDS
3 years 10 months ago

Ya but if the Cards dont resign Pujols do you really think they will spend the money elsewhere?? They are expanding their payroll IF and when they sign Pujols but I doubt they will spend an extra 20-30million elsewhere if they dont sign him.

No Pujols = giving Berkman the money he wants to play first, stick Craig at RF and maybe spend a little extra on a 2B or SS. If that was the case hopefully Jose Reyes!

Reyes
Craig
Holiday
Berkman
Freese
Jay
Molina
Pitcher
Skip

Hmmmmmmmmmm…. Looks lonely without Albert

Redbirds16
3 years 10 months ago

Err. that’s not a bad looking lineup. Any lineup without Pujols is going to look lonelier than the one with it.

Also, seeing as how that payroll would be significantly less than one in which Albert takes up roughly 1/5th of it, I’d imagine the Cards could go out and get an established closer for the back end of the ‘pen. Maybe see if Buerhle can’t be fit into the starting rotation somehow.

The_BiRDS
3 years 10 months ago

As easy at it would be to get Buerhle to play for the Cards next year.. it just wont happen giving the Carpenter extension. I wish it would but the rotaion is set for next year unless there is an injury. At the moment Cards have been getting the “dicount” everyone has been talking about with Alberts last contract. Its not like 30 million is coming off the books this year for STL if Albert walks (only 16-18mil). The way I see it is the only way the Cards are going to spend more this off season is if they resign Albert otherwise they will do the norm in the offseason. Which sucks but is realistic.   

bigpat
3 years 10 months ago

I keep thinking they can’t sign everyone, someone has to be left out, I guess we’ll see. 

3 years 10 months ago

He’s after one year deals, those are very much so lower risk for the signing team. You’re going to after to pay him more of an annual salary if he’s hitting 30+ homeruns with almost a 300 average.

mondaymorninggm
3 years 10 months ago

paying berkman 12 plus is crazy. he has completely dropped off in the 2nd half and craig is flourishing. spend that coin somewhere else. maybe fill that 2nd base hole with a kelly johnson. and a closer.  

3 years 10 months ago

I fail to see how Kelly Johnson would be an improvement offensively or defensively… If he is our alternative to Berkman, I’ll take Berkman and propose to Allen Craig that he spend the entire offseason learning the fundamentals of playing second base.

Hubbs2
3 years 10 months ago

Yeah, that .312 avg and 900+ OPS is so terrible from Berkman in the second half. 12 mill will be the starting point if he’s after a one year contract

Kendall Adkins
3 years 10 months ago

How does he have a .312 average in the second half? He was over .300 in the first half and now he’s not. Those figures don’t add up.

Hubbs2
3 years 10 months ago

Actually he was hitting .290 in the first half, he is now hitting .315 in the second half. Numbers don’t lie

daveineg
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t buy that Berkman’s “proven he can still play the OF”.  Oh he’ll catch what he can get to, but his range is limited and teams run on his arm.  His best position is still 1B.

He’s a logical guy the Brewers would look at if Fielder leaves.  I don’t think they are sold on Gamel as the solution.  It would also make sense from Berkman’s perspective to stay in the same division where he’s had success.

stl_cards16
3 years 10 months ago

He’s not great in the outfield, but I’ve seen worse.  The major concern about him not being able to play the outfield was that his knees wouldn’t be able to handle the wear and tear.  He has shown he can stay healthy and not be horrible out there.  With the offense he has provided, he is a lot more valuable in the outfield than at First.

Ferrariman
3 years 10 months ago

i disagree.  Since he has shown that he can be a very valuable offensively, he would be best served going back to first base where he isn’t a defensive liablity. 

The_BiRDS
3 years 10 months ago

I agree, if Cards dont sign Berkman this off season he will be the Brewers 1st baseman. 2 year 20-23million contract range. Where else would he go in the NL central? Cubs would get Fielder or even resign Pena, Reds have Votto, Cards most likely will resign Pujols, Berkman already said he wont return to Houston, and the Pirates… haha

3 years 10 months ago

The thing is that he say that 1st base is harder on his knees then the outfield because of the twist and turns he have to make at 1st.

burritolikethesun
3 years 10 months ago

Go Brewers.

Kendall Adkins
3 years 10 months ago

I say let Berkman walk. Mark my words, Craig will have better offensive numbers than Berkman next year, assuming good health. And he’s a better defender, but so am I… And I don’t really like the idea of Craig at 2nd and Berkman in right. We’ve shown that defense is important this year.