Blue Jays Should Sign Lance Berkman

MLB trade rumours reports:

The Rays, Astros, Phillies and Red Sox are all in “tire-kicking” mode on Lance Berkman, tweets Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle (hat tip: Alex Speier of WEEI.com).

Until this point, the Astros are the only team that has been largely connected to Berkman this offseason. Astros owner Jim Crane had a “get-acquainted” meeting with Berkman recently, and Big Puma expressed interest in returning to Houston where his career began. In that interview, Berkman said he wanted to be paid like a Major League three-hole hitter, though he’d take a bit of a discount for the Astros.

The Phillies presumably have visions of Berkman seeing some time on the field as a first baseman or outfielder. The same could be said for the Red Sox, who recently re-signed David Ortiz to a two-year contract. The Rays and Astros could both elect to use Berkman as their primary DH, with no concrete incumbent in place for either organization.

Berkman hit .259/.381/.444 in 97 plate appearances for the Cardinals in 2012 but was hobbled by a pair of knee surgeries. He’s a career .296/.409/.544 hitter with 360 homers between the Astros, Yankees and Cardinals.

Yes he’s a bit older and there has been zero indication that Berkman would be interested in heading to Toronto but if I were Alex Anthopoulos I’d be intrigued at the possibility of adding a professional hitter like Lance Berkman.  A switch hitter who would slot perfectly into the DH role currently held by Adam Lind (or Edwin Encarnacion).

He could still play a bit of firstbase and he has proven he can still be productive when healthy.  In 2011 he slashed 301/412/547 with 31 HRs in 587 PAs.  In 2012 he was injured for the majority of the season but still slashed a respectable 259/381/444.

Berkman has patience, can hit for power and again if healthy would add some serious depth to what is already shaping up to be a very solid batting lineup.  If he’s available and wouldn’t mind a one-year deal at a reasonable number he could make the Blue Jays lineup deadly.

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  35. 35 fmradioguy November 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Yes, he’s ready to DH and would be a similar signing to Molitor and Winfield. He’d instantly command respect in the clubhouse. Plus, he should come at a modest 1-2 year contract for his potential outpot.

  36. 36 Idiot Fan November 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I agree with Wes but I really think if healthy he’d be a machine for us. We need another patient hitter.

    • 37 Wes Kepstro November 20, 2012 at 10:00 am

      I need to qualify my comment. First, I like Berkman and think he’d be a quality guy. It’s the injuries that make me hesitate. That said, the patience that you mention is such a valuable asset. When we consider the ‘new’ Jays and all that speed (Reyes, Bonifacio, Izturis, Lawrie, Rajai, etc.), a patient hitter who makes good contact is like water in a dry place.

      Second and speaking peaking of injuries, I don’t think that Jose Reyes is as injury-prone as people say. Reyes has made 1905 PA since the start of 2010, which ranks 5th among all SS in MLB.

  37. 38 Wes Kepstro November 20, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Johnson and Reyes already have reps about being injury-prone. Bonifacio played 64 games last year. Then there’s the Morrow-Bautista-JPA-Lawrie-Hutchison-Drabek injury carousel. Add Happ, Edwin, and Rasmus and I’d be pretty skittish about adding a 36-year old with gimpy knees to that mix, especially on the ‘turf’ at the Rogers Centre. He wants to be paid like a #3 hitter, too. Sheesh.

    If they’re going to do something like that, then why not shell it out for someone like Napoli who’s younger, more versatile, and less of an injury concern? Then they could deal JPA for pitching, and we could watch the Jays rake all season long.

  38. 39 GordieDougie November 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I really want him, but he’s said something about the AL being Mickey Mouse.


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