When asked whether or not he would waive his no-trade clause, Lance Berkman said today that he would waive it to help the Astros organization turn towards the future. With the Padres contending/A-Gon most likely out of the M's trading range anyways, Berkman could be the biggest bat available on the market. So, should the M's go after him? Let's weigh the pros and cons.
- Switch-hitter, but has more power from the left-hand side, which is tailored for Safeco
- Can actually hit home runs on a somewhat-consistent basis
- Is not totally incompetent at first base
- Can (or at least should) be had for a decent price without emptying the farm system
- Would necessitate getting Mike Sweeney off the team and drastically reduces Jr.'s ABs
- Injury-plagued, 35 and coming off of a knee surgery
- His HR/FB and LD% rates have been declining rapidily since 2007, while his GB% has increased
- Is owed $14.5 million this season and has a $2 million buyout or a $15 million option for next season
The monetary cost is a bit high. However, the complete and unmitigated disaster that is the Astros farm system should make them more willing to eat some of the contract for prospects, any prospects. The cost shouldn't (hopefully) be more than one of Saunders/Triunfel or maybe a pitcher such as Fister/Vargas/RR-S and a couple other middling prospects. Adding Berkman, and hopefully getting Bradley back, adds some lineup versatility with 3 switch hitters, two of which have at least a modicum of power and threat. The downside is that in order to have them both in the lineup, one of them would have to be in the field at all times. A rotating platoon of Kotchman/Berkman/Bradley/Langerhans at 1B/DH/LF will help keep the injuries down for Bradley and Berkman, at the cost of having their defense in the field. However, the Mariners have shown that they are OK with Bradley in left field, so this shouldn't be too big of a problem. A lineup of:
Figgins (PLEASE STOP STRIKING OUT)
Comedy Catcher option
actually looks somewhat competent (though who knows how Wak would screw this up). Depending on the price, both in terms of contract and prospects (and I'd like to think that Jack Z can somehow outwit Ed Wade), I say pull the trigger.
Another possibility, if the price for Berkman alone is too much, is that a third team could be brought in that would like to get Roy Oswalt, if the Astros truly go into selling mode.