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Lance Berkman says the Astros should trade him

May 6, 2010, 1:45 PM EDT

With the Astros off to a 9-18 start and headed for fewer than 75 wins for the third time in four seasons, Lance Berkman said yesterday that he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if asked. He also said that if he were running the Astros he’d probably be trying to trade himself:

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. …

I’m not saying we’re at the point where they should start pulling the plug on us, but they need to start thinking forward. If this thing keeps going like this, they’ve gotta do something. If you’re running a team, you don’t want to get caught in 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.

Astros fans probably don’t want to hear that, but Berkman is right on the money. In fact, based on that very reasoned and logical quote the Astros might be better off if he were indeed “running the show.” Houston has long been stuck between contending and rebuilding–with offseason signings Pedro Feliz and Brandon Lyon clearly fitting the “marginal veteran” label–and the end result is a poor MLB team, a lacking farm system, and little short-term hope.
Berkman is making $14.5 million this season and the Astros hold a $15 million option or $2 million buyout for 2011, but the 34-year-old first baseman seems ready to move on:

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. … I have been fortunate to play on at least competitive teams for most of my career, and it just stinks, you know, when you’re getting older and really want to win.

And then you kind of think, “Aw, man, how long before we win here?” This organization has been great to me. I love the Houston Astros. No matter what happens, I’m always going to be an Astro at heart. But as you get older, you definitely start to look at things like that, and you say, “How many sub-.500 seasons do you want to play?”

If general manager Ed Wade asks himself the same question part of the answer should be trading Berkman.

  1. benyamen - May 6, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Red Sox could use a bat . . . I’m just sayin’.

  2. thomami - May 6, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    As a life time Astros fan i completely agree. If you trade him to the American league right now, he’ll be an all-star DH this year. And the ‘stros will be 15 games under .500 at the all star break either way However, the thought of having some good young prospects getting Major League time and some more in our system is exciting. Do it.

  3. Travis W - May 6, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Sorry Lance, but you’d have to shop yourself around to teams and set up the parameters, then present them to the brass in your organization to see anything happen. The same people who have pursued exactly the methodology you describe still run your club. Too bad the team has the option for next year. Don’t sell your home…

  4. jwb - May 6, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Berkman has to prove that he can play well on his surgically repaired knee. I don’t doubt that he will, but he hasn’t yet.

  5. Wendall - May 6, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Red Sox could use a bat … They need alot more than that . You might want a little pitching , and defense , and someone stupid enough to take Ortiz in a trade .

  6. Jim In Texas - May 6, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Ed Wade is pulling the strings, well…he’s supposed to be. Lance is right though. Our Astros’ roster looks like a “Who’s-Was” list of MLB. Lance’s loyalty is commendable, but this is a business and attention needs to go to where the problems lay. One is the GMs office and the other(s) sit on the bench. I don’t put [too]much blame on the manager because fielding a competitive team this year is like squeezing water out of a rock. And we seem to have 40 rocks sitting on the pine. Hell, I’m 51 but have enough offensive and defensive mechanics to make THIS team. Sign me up and play for a fraction of what these guys make AND BE HAPPY!

  7. benyamen - May 6, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    If you take a minute to look at the pitching over the past week or so the numbers are actually looking a lot better. Any staff made of Beckett, Lester, Lackey and Bucholz is bound to turn it around eventually. The fact though that the Red Sox have Bill Hall as an everyday starter is embarassing. They just need to part ways with washed up Papi already and bring in a bat they can count on.

  8. Wendall - May 6, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Maybe the pitching will come around , but at the present Lackey is the only one you can count on . I think Beckett will never be what he was , Lester , I expected alot more from , and that could be coming ,and Bucholz is erratic you never know what your gonna get . You didn’t mention Dice-k and for good reason . Boston got beat up on him like the Yankees got beat on Hideki Irabu , the difference being Boston paid alot more for this bum than the Yankees paid for their bum . The Bill Hall thing could have happened to any team beset with injuries, it just happens, and you have to do the best you can until the regulars get back . It’s a long season and alot can happen .

  9. lessick - May 6, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Who is looking for 1B help AND is willing to give up prospects? The Mets, maybe. Otherwise, I just don;t see too many good fits. Boston would have to address the Ortiz-Lowell situation first and that;s tricky. If they cut Ortiz, I can’t see them replacing him with an older player with bad knees. Besides, when Cameron and Ellsbury went down, Boston did not go after Jermaine Dye, who would not cost the team any prospects.

    As good as Berkman is, I think he might be difficult to trade.

  10. Joey B - May 6, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    “The fact though that the Red Sox have Bill Hall as an everyday starter is embarassing.”
    He actually wouldn’t be playing except for injuries to Cameron, Ellsbury and Hermida.
    And he’s actually played really well. .400 OBP and a .761 OPS and has fielded very well.

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