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Nelson Cruz’s hamstring injury could motivate Rangers to pursue Lance Berkman

Aug 29, 2011, 1:20 PM EDT

Lance Berkman Getty Images

While the Rangers await word on Nelson Cruz‘s latest hamstring injury Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News speculates that Lance Berkman of the Cardinals would be “their prime target … if the Rangers do go elsewhere for help.”

Berkman cleared waivers last week, so the Cardinals are free to trade the 35-year-old outfielder, and he’s owed around $1.3 million for September as part of a one-year contract.

Fraley notes that Berkman considered signing with the Rangers before choosing the Cardinals and he’s been an incredible pickup for St. Louis, hitting .289 with 30 homers and a .975 OPS in 118 games.

Obviously the Rangers would love to add an impact bat to the lineup as they try to stay ahead of the Angels in the AL West, but Berkman said last week that he’d ideally like to re-sign with the Cardinals and regardless of Cruz’s status a last-minute deal for a hitter as good as Berkman seems unlikely.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 29, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    How the hell did Lance Berkman, being paid on $1.3 million for September, clear waivers????? Wouldn’t he have been a far superior pick up for a team over Thome and Kubel????? Or am I missing something?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 29, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      Most probably consider him useless in the field so he’s strictly a DH, and how many contenders need a DH? People are also probably concerned about his bad play the last few years. Is his good play going to continue or is it a fluke?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 29, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        church, I would think that he is LESS useless in the field than Jim Thome…right? And he is having a FAR superior year at the plate than Thome.

      • paperlions - Aug 29, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        First, he can play 1B just fine, and is only bad in the OF, not unplayable.

        Second, he has been great offensively the last few years when ever he has had 2 healthy knees….so anyone paying a modicum of attention is not concerned about production from a healthy Berkman.

        Third, you can’t use the word “fluke” to describe the lion’s share of events; that isn’t what the word means.

      • spudchukar - Aug 29, 2011 at 5:58 PM

        First off, he has not played badly the last few years. Secondly, while he is no wizard in the outfield, he has improved quite a bit this year, and it would be inaccurate to say he is currently a bad outfielder. Their is very little difference between Berkman and Braun defensively. As Berkman’s knee has strengthened he now has at least, average speed both in the field and on the bases. Graceful he isn’t but as the year has progressed their has been significant improvement.

        As of two weeks ago Berkman was only a Type B Free Agent, but was on the edge of a Type A. At that time he was leading the league in OPS, so who knows what calculations Elias is using. This probably negates a waiver pick up because the Cards would demand a First Round prospect in return, or screw the deal.

        The Rangers are going to have to pony up if they hope to trade for Berkman. If they keep him, or if he signs elsewhere the Cards will still get major compensation. If they trade him now and resign him in the off-season, then they would have to ante up compensation, so the Rangers would need to better that option.

  2. APBA Guy - Aug 29, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    I’d be really surprised if the Rangers rented Berkman. No doubt StL would want a prospect for Berkman in addition to the salary, and I doubt Texas would do that unless Cruz’s injury turns out to be severe, or Josh dislocates his shoulder tonight or something equally bad.

    • okwhitefalcon - Aug 29, 2011 at 3:12 PM

      Puma will no doubt be a “Type A” free agent as well so it would likely take more than a fringe prospect for the Cards to even consider a move, probably not a road the Rangers are willing to go down either..

  3. okwhitefalcon - Aug 29, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    When healthy, Puma still rakes and has been adequate in the outfield – he’s far from a + outfielder
    but serviceable. No problem handling 1B…

    He’s also been open about his dislike for all things DH so it’ll be interesting to see if this story has any merit…

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