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UPDATE: Cardinals sign Lance Berkman to one-year contract

Dec 4, 2010, 5:27 PM EDT

Berkman Yanks

UPDATE: Hoo-boy. According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, Berkman got $8 million from the Cardinals.

This isn’t confirmed, but Heyman also hears that Berkman will play left field while Matt Holliday will be moved to right field. That’s right. The Cardinals are apparently moving their $120 million outfielder to make way for Berkman. By the way, Holliday has never played an inning in right field between the majors and minors. Fun times.

5:27 PM: Here’s a surprising one.

The Cardinals have signed Lance Berkman to a one-year contract, according to the team’s Twitter feed. No word on the exact terms of the deal.

Interestingly, he is described as an outfielder/first baseman in the Tweet by the team, though we can’t see him playing first base that much as long as that Albert Pujols guy has something to say about it.

Berkman is coming off a career-worst season in which he batted .248/.368/.413 with 14 home runs and 58 RBI over 481 plate appearances between the Astros and Yankees. He batted just .171/.261/.256 with one home run, five RBI and a 517 OPS over 82 at-bats against left-handed pitching.

The Athletics were aggressive in their pursuit of Berkman, but he reportedly preferred staying in the National League. A rebound season with the bat isn’t out of the question — and he probably represents an upgrade over what the Cardinals had in right field after the Ryan Ludwick trade, at least offensively — but it’s worth noting that Berkman hasn’t played one inning in the outfield since the 2007 season and hasn’t been a full-time outfielder since 2004. That’s quite a leap of faith to take with someone who turns 35 years old in February and needed knee surgery earlier this year.

  1. diehardcubbiefan4life - Dec 4, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    hoo-boy is right

  2. paperlions - Dec 4, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    I like this a heck of a lot better than the Theriot deal…if you are going to give away defense, at least get an offensive upgrade in return. Moving Holliday would be strange, considering that Berkman played more RF than LF later in his career….seems smarter to downgrade defensively at only one position (RF) than possibly weakening your team at two of them….then again, LaRussa regularly put in crappy defenders late in games in RF and moved other crappy defenders from RF to CF so he could get that pesky, unreliable young whipper snapper out of his lineup and OF.

  3. bloodysock - Dec 4, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    What the what?

  4. ultimatecardinalwarrior - Dec 4, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    Hey, he might be better than Randy Winn. After all this, the least the Cardinals front office could do is sign Pujols.

    • JBerardi - Dec 5, 2010 at 12:34 AM

      If I was Pujols, I’d be running for the exits. Moving Holliday to right? Good grief.

      • paperlions - Dec 5, 2010 at 9:43 AM

        Yeah, players hate it when a team signs a guy that has been great when healthy to a one year deal. They also hate it when team mates volunteer to switch positions if it helps the team (Holliday volunteered, the team didn’t say that it would happen).

        Of course, it is always better for a team if you sign a declining and tremendously over-rated player with 2 years left on his deal to an extension at $25M per and trade away an ace for marginal prospects. Players love those moves.

  5. Adam - Dec 4, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    So the Cardinals signed the man who was looking for a $7 million contract for $8 million? Seems interesting. As for the moving OF, I’m sure Tony will find a way to go to the mound and make a defensive switch every inning. Maybe it will become the newest trend.

  6. mtner77 - Dec 5, 2010 at 12:06 AM

    Does LaRussa understand that the Card’s play in the NL, and therefore do not a DH? Probably not. He is the same genius who thinks the pitcher should hit 8th.

    • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 5, 2010 at 12:33 AM

      Hitting the pitcher 8th has produced more runs per year than hitting the pitcher 9th for Tony. It is the old school book to hit the pitcher 9th and it was the right thing to do back in the day when the pitcher hit 4 to 5 times a game. Now, particularly with the 4th and 5th starters, the pitcher hits 2 to 3 times a game. Run the numbers.

  7. yankeesfanlen - Dec 5, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    Since, for the Yankees, Berkman played 1st with all the grace of Jason Giambi, perhaps he’ll do a Johnny Damon in left. Oh, and fail to hit.

    • paperlions - Dec 5, 2010 at 9:37 AM

      Guess who, in an injury plagued and down year, was a better hitter and fielder of their position than Derek Jeter (and it wasn’t close)? I’ll give you one guess.

      Your team just signed an older, worse player for three times the years at six times the money. Jeter is hole in the defense and offense and the Yankees just committed to playing him full time for 3 more years. The money doesn’t matter, but the playing time is going to kill them.

      • yankeesfanlen - Dec 5, 2010 at 1:24 PM

        .255 BA, 9H, 1 HR. I’ll take Giambi or Damon back.

  8. cintiphil - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    Well, now the birds have two players who kill the Reds. If you throw in Holliday, that is three of them. One is bound to gave a great game against us. Will we ever beat these guys again? Not one of you guys have any idea of what berkman will do for the birds, or what position he will play. I think Tony got him just to make sure they beat us again. We will have to make up the losses with the Pirates and Cubs.

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