Lance Berkman showed in 2011 that he still had some gas left in the tank, but a knee injury limited the veteran to just 32 games in 2012. Now, with Berkman available on the open market, there are a few teams at least willing to consider signing the slugger in the hopes of him bouncing back.
Berkman told the Houston Chronicle that four teams have expressed interest, and are in what he described as “tire-kicking mode.” The Red Sox, Phillies, Rays and Astros are reportedly the four teams that Berkman named.
Berkman, a six-time All-Star who will turn 37 before Opening Day, is reportedly mulling his options and deciding whether he’s going to continue his playing career. The outfielder has been serving as a volunteer assistant coach at Rice, the school he was drafted out of in the first round in 1997.
“I’m waiting to be blown away by an offer,” Berkman reportedly said after conducting batting practice with Rice. “If I’m not, I’ll be out here.
“If somebody comes in and makes a deal that I can’t refuse, then I have to take it and go forward. That may not happen — and if it doesn’t, I’m fine.”
It’s probably unlikely that someone will blow Berkman away, as an injury-plagued 2012 ruined what had been a renaissance of sorts. After a couple of mediocre seasons in 2009 and 2010, Berkman became an All-Star for the World Series champion Cardinals in 2011, finishing the campaign with 31 home runs, 94 RBIs and a .301 average.
Berkman reportedly said he would prefer to sign a two-year deal with any prospective team.
Photo via Flickr/Keith Allison