Lance Berkman Rumors

Cardinals Notes: Berkman, Mozeliak, Jackson

The Cardinals edged the Braves out for the National League Wild Card and are now preparing for their Division Series matchup against the Phillies. Here are some Cardinals-related links, as we await tomorrow's Kyle Lohse-Roy Halladay contest…


Quick Hits: Pujols, Nunez, Mets, Moneyball

With some Major League teams restricting players from consuming energy drinks, you'll have to rely on these late-night news items to perk you up…

  • The Cardinals' re-signing of Lance Berkman is a good move for several reasons, argues Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Berkman's presence will help convince Albert Pujols that the Cards can remain competitive or, if Pujols did leave, Berkman could replace Pujols as the club's first baseman.
  • Speaking of Pujols, Tony La Russa praised his star for not being distracted by his pending free agency, reports MLB.com's Steve Overbey.  La Russa also commented on Pujols' future, saying "I just know both parties want to stay here, so I'm hopeful it will work out."  No doubt Pujols' decision will factor heavily in La Russa's own decision about exercising his side of the mutual option on his contract for 2012.
  • Leo Nunez (a.k.a. Juan Carlos Oviedo) could face jail time in the Dominican Republic for using a false identity, reports Ezra Fieser and Frances Robles of the Miami Herald.
  • The Mets recently signed 16-year-old, Venezuelan right-hander Luis Carreno, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
  • Scouts from around baseball are telling Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that they won't be going to see Moneyball given how the A's scouts are portrayed in the movie.  Slusser herself objected to how former A's manager Art Howe was turned into "a villain" in the picture.  "It’s essentially character assasination of a man who is well-liked all over the sport," Slusser writes.
  • For more on Moneyball, check out my review of the film.

Cardinals Extend Lance Berkman

8:00pm: Berkman's extension includes a full no-trade clause, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

10:43am: Headed for a potentially turbulent winter, the Cardinals made the rest of their offseason that much simpler today, agreeing to a one-year, $12MM extension with Lance Berkman. The sides had been discussing a possible deal this month, though talks had appeared to lose momentum.

The Cardinals have announced the deal (Twitter link) and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch added (on Twitter) the value of the deal and that no money is deferred. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggested on Tuesday that a $12MM deal would be a fair compromise.

Berkman, 35, has enjoyed a resurgent season in St. Louis, hitting 31 homers and posting a .300/.412/.555 line through 558 plate appearances. The switch-hitter has played first base and both corner outfield positions for the Cardinals this year. He leads the league with an OPS+ of 169 and has added 4.6 wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs.

The Cardinals, who are gaining ground in the National League Wild Card race, also extended Chris Carpenter this month. They have signed five players to extensions during the month of September since GM John Mozeliak took over. Only one other MLB team has extended a player during the final month of the regular season in that time (Tim Byrdak of the Mets signed an extension this month).

Albert Pujols, Edwin Jackson and Rafael Furcal are among the Cardinals who will file for free agency after the season. Moye Sports Associates represents Berkman, as our Agency Database shows.



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.


NL Central Notes: Pujols, Cardinals, Fielder, Cubs

The Cardinals still don't know whether or not Albert Pujols will be playing in St. Louis past this season, and the team is making moves to prepare for either scenario, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cards are currently negotiating with the agents of Lance Berkman and Rafael Furcal in an effort to retain both players on short-term deals. Strauss adds that the team hopes Pujols' future will be decided no later than December 11th. Here's the latest on a couple other NL Central clubs:


NL Central Notes: Berkman, Cards, Myers, Pagnozzi

Some news from the NL Central…


NL Central Notes: Berkman, Samardzija, Jocketty

Aramis Ramirez, whose solo homer helped the Cubs beat the Reds tonight, will be looking for a multiyear deal this offseason. Here’s the latest from his division, with updates on his current club and the team that first signed him… 

  • There's no guarantee that Lance Berkman will be back in St. Louis next year, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes (on Twitter). Berkman has leverage, so a new deal is not a "slam dunk."
  • For more on the Cardinalsoffseason plans, click here.
  • The Cubs have held internal discussions about Jeff Samardzija as a candidate for the starting rotation, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. The Cubs have less rotation depth than they did earlier this year, as Wittenmyer explains. The right-hander has started five MLB games, but all 69 of his 2011 appearances have been in relief.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that he doesn't want to discuss his contract, which expires after the 2011 season. "It's not for public consumption,” he said. “It's not worth commenting on it."
  • MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes discussed the free agent prospects of Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez earlier today.
  • The Pirates have notified their Venezuelan academy that they're going to end their lease and stop participating in the Venezuelan Summer League, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Pittsburgh will field two teams in the Dominican Summer League next year, however.

Cardinals Links: Carpenter, Furcal, Berkman

The Cardinals have won five in a row and come into the day just 4.5 games back of the Braves for the NL Wildcard, making things unexpectedly interesting in the season's final weeks. Let's round up the latest from St. Louis…


Quick Hits: Strasburg, Pujols, Wilken

Weather permitting, Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg will make his 2011 MLB debut tonight, almost one year from the day of having Tommy John surgery performed on his elbow.  Whether or not Strasmas is cancelled, here are today's links…

  • Strasburg still needs to knock a little rust off his command, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told ESPN's Jayson Stark.  Stark takes the stance that the Nationals are not rushing Strasburg back.  Stark's colleague Keith Law has a fantastic article discussing the Tommy John procedure and recovery, with help from pitchers Jarrod Parker and Chad Durbin.  For a look at what Strasburg did during his down time and how he's changed in the last year, check out Dave Sheinin's article from the Washington Post.
  • SI's Jon Heyman hears that the Cardinals are "not completely confident" Albert Pujols will remain in St. Louis, which is one reason they didn't trade Lance Berkman (Twitter link).
  • The Chicago Sun-Times talked to Tim Wilken, the Cubs' director of amateur and professional scouting, about the possibility of an extension in the wake of Oneri Fleita's four-year deal.  Such a move would quickly sour many Cubs GM candidates, hears Yahoo's Jeff Passan (Twitter link).  Wilken recently told Baseball America's Phil Rogers that it's been 20 years since he's had the kind of ownership commitment toward draft and international free agent spending that he had in 2011.
  • NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman explains why he's predicted against Yu Darvish being posted in past years, but also outlines why he can see the righty being posted this winter.
  • Tigers righty Doug Fister has "basically turned himself into the modern version of Brad Radke," writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.  Does he represent the best acquisition by a contender this summer?  Hunter Pence belongs in that discussion as well.

Rosenthal On Bedard, Papi, Gonzalez, Berkman

Here are some interesting tidbits courtesy of Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com:

  • The Red Sox wanted to acquire then Mariners starter Erik Bedard so badly that they tried to trade for the lefty while he was still on the disabled list in July. Fortuitously, Bedard threw a simulated game at Fenway Park when the M's were in Boston on July 23, shortly before his return from the DL. So, the Red Sox had a good chance to scout him before making an offer to Seattle and consummating the eventual trade.
  • Offseason negotiations between impending free agent David Ortiz and Boston "will not necessarily go smoothly," opines Rosenthal. The Red Sox will want to limit the years on a new deal for Papi, while the DH will seek a multiyear pact and a raise on his $12.5MM annaul salary.
  • Rangers lefty Mike Gonzalez, acquired last week from the Orioles, could be a huge pickup for Texas, which lacks a lefty killer in its bullpen.
  • Texas was serious about acquiring Lance Berkman from the Cardinals, but the Big Puma didn't want to be a rental player for the second consecutive year, according to Rosenthal, and St. Louis wanted to retain the veteran slugger in hopes of re-signing him this offseason.