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Lance Berkman says re-signing with Cardinals “would be my first choice”

Aug 25, 2011, 12:16 PM EDT

Lance Berkman Getty Images

At times last season Lance Berkman looked washed up, posting an OPS below .800 for the first time, but he’s bounced back in a huge way this season at age 35 by hitting .290 with 29 homers and a .975 OPS.

Not surprisingly Berkman plans to keep playing in 2012, but the big question is whether he’ll re-sign with the Cardinals after resurrecting his career on a one-year, $8 million contract.

Asked yesterday about his plans, Berkman told Matthew Leach of MLB.com that he’d definitely like to stay in St. Louis:

This would be my first choice. Hopefully it will be here, but part of that is not up to me. This is a great group of guys. I think it has a lot of potential. Even if things don’t go like we want them to this year, I still feel like this is not a team that is rebuilding. It’s not a team that’s very far away from being right where it needs to be.

Surely the Cardinals would love to re-sign him to another one-year deal, but Berkman has played well enough that getting multi-year offers on the open market seems possible. If the Cardinals re-sign Albert Pujols to a monster contract will they have enough payroll space left to give multiple years to Berkman? And if Pujols leaves St. Louis as a free agent will they want to rebuild rather than re-sign the 36-year-old Berkman?

  1. Old Gator - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Berkman will sign a multiyear contract with the Feesh, and become known in Macondo as the Florid a Puma. Then, Scrooge McLoria will give him an accursed blood diamond studded .290 amulet which will cause him to sustain one minor injury after another and commit his career to the lurking god Coriolis. It would be a tragedy and a waste of Scrooge McLoria’s scarce resources (nyuknyuknyuknyuk), but it might be the best way to get Pazuzu off’n Hanley if he can be coaxed to jump from a .342 amulet to a .290 one. The trick is for Berkman to be standing near an open window in one of the new skyboxes when it happens.

    • stinkfingers - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      WTF?

  2. hasbeen5 - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Even if he regresses, La Russa will always need a LH high-fiver on the bench. Those guys are hard to find.

    • Old Gator - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      You mean, like, veteran leadership?

    • okwhitefalcon - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      Puma’s been a good fit for the Cards, doesn’t get too high or low and gets along with everyone apparently.

      That said, the Cards are in for one of their most pivotal off seasons ever – they probably don’t have the budget to hold onto all their vets that could contribute and don’t have the farm system to replenish the major league roster and remain competitive.

      They’re kinda fucked really…

      • paperlions - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:45 PM

        Yeah, when you keep trading away and running off the prospects you do have in favor of old dudes…..that whole “kind of fucked” thing has a way of creeping up on ya if you don’t have an unlimited budget.

      • okwhitefalcon - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:02 PM

        In reality, the only 2 prospects/suspects that were “ran off” were Raz and Ryan and were done so because they’d worn out their welcome with this regime and clubhouse. IE, Mozeliak, TLR, Pujols and Carpenter.

        Problem is, 2 of the four very well may not be back (Pujols and Carp) 1 will do his annual Brett Favre (TLR) and the other isn’t going anywhere (Mo).

        The whole ‘all in” rhetoric from Mo was just goofy, they didn’t have the firepower to match up with anyone in the playoffs either before or after the deadline.

        Bottom line is the organization has been split since the Mo/Luhnow powerplay a few years ago, Dewitt made the choice and the organization is paying the price.

      • paperlions - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:46 PM

        Agreed. In the end, the fault is that of DeWitt and the man he backed. Mo (IMO) is trying to make the best of a bad situation, having had much of his rightful power as GM taken from him. Unfortunately, the organization has opted to keep fungible resources in lieu of difficult to place ones….and yeah, I think it is going to hurt….unless DeWitt somehow decides to up payroll by about $30M/year.

      • okwhitefalcon - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:26 PM

        I do think Mo is caught in the middle to a degree but he also had the most to gain in the Luhnow/Jocketty battle for power.

        Dewitt backed Luhnow and his business school approach and things have gone downhill since, I’m not saying things would be much better if Jocketty was still around but at least there would be some continuity in organizational philosophy from front office to field of play.

      • paperlions - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        Actually, right after that there was another power struggle. LaRussa has DeWitt’s ear, and while he doesn’t control the draft, he and Duncan have a lot of say in player development approaches that have led to some discord. LaRussa calls most of the shots when it comes to roster composition, who to trade away and trade targets….no, he doesn’t design the deal, but the deals are always ones he wants done.

        IMO, the problem came from a lack of continuity. After the ouster of Jockety they didn’t stick with the new plan, they nearly immediately reverted back to doing things the old way (trading nearly every valuable prospect for veterans). If you decide on a plan of action that requires long-term commitment, you can’t bail on it 2 years later and claim it failed….you didn’t give a chance to succeed.

        The problem now is that the Cardinals are being left behind by many other clubs that understand value estimation and how performance translates to wins. They are still using a 1980s model in a 2010s market.

  3. jeffa43 - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    As Lance said, Ed Wade told me “Beat it, you no longer fit in our organization” No way was Ed Wade about to fork out 8 million for Berkman who lead them to their only World Series, and a home town favorote.

    Instead, Wade gave 5 million to Bill Hall… In 54 games Hall was almost tops in the league in Strike outs, and hitting a cool .200 before being released.

    For those of you who do not know this, Berkman has played 8 games in Houston this year, and he has as many home runs (5) as any other Astro playing in the stadium ALL YEAR.

    Good for Lance Berkman, as an Astro loyalist, I hope he pounds us for years to come. A lot of good poople have lost jobs this past couple of years.

    HOW DOES WADE STILL HAVE A JOB?

    The Bourn deal was awesome as well… jack ass!

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