Many of the usual big-time reporter types report Lance Berkman and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a one-year contract extension for the 35 year-old “outfielder”. Terms are not yet available but we can assume it is in the neighbourhood of “a lot for you and me but pretty fair for a professional baseball player with Berkman’s resume.”

As Mr. Parkes noted just two days ago, there is a certain amount of risk for the Cardinals to extend Berkman, though getting him to sign for just one season mitigates that to a degree. Would they better served netting a draft pick by letting him walk? They just might, in the long run. But just about every move the Cardinals make suggests they aren’t a “long run” club. They need to win in the present – the future be damned.

Perhaps signing this deal indicates reluctance of Berkman and his representation to hit the open market where he might face a form of taxation for his Type-A status.

Does this suggest the Cardinals are intent on remaining competitive enough to retain Albert Pujols? Is this a peace offering to the biggest free agent fish in the pond? Can I ask any more rhetorical questions before you stop reading? Only time will tell, he wrote annoyingly…

UPDATE: Looks like it is one year, $12 million. They expect him to perform as a 3 WAR player next year? Not a bad deal for the Cardinals, other than all the bad parts.

Comments (8)

  1. It’s at least a decent short-term contingency plan for 1B if they do lose Pujols. Obviously Berkman is no Pujols but his 2011 production would still put him among the best first basemen in the league. I’m sure they’d like to keep both guys, but if they do end up losing Pujols, now they already have somebody they can plug in there and remain competitive next year (winning in the present!) while they figure out a long-term solution.

  2. It’s interesting to me that Berkman was okay with just taking a one-year deal, though. Given the Prince/Pujols sweepstakes that will dominate the offseason, he’d probably command a lot more money than he’s actually worth, as a fallback plan for all the teams that miss out on those two.

    • Is the market for those two really that large?

      • I dunno, I could definitely see, say, the Nationals giving him way too much money if they don’t get one of the bigger-name guys.

      • For comparison, Aubrey Huff got 2 years/$22M after putting up a .290/.385/.506 line at age 33. I would imagine Berkman could have at least gotten a similar 2-year deal.

  3. As parked said, you should always take the picks for a thirty five year old coming off a career year.

    • Rebound year, not career. Remember, this is a guys who has done it before, not a flash in the pan. Good deal. Fall back plan in case The Machine bolts.

  4. Given the context in which the Cards are operating, this is a decent deal. Either he’s there for a run, or he’s the fallback if Pujols walks. One year doesn’t cripple you, and if he’s good again, you get to make that decision again in 12 months. If he’s not, you don’t need to wait long to be out from under the contract.

    If the Cards were certain to be rebuilding, they’d let him walk. But there’s value here, just in a different context than a team like the Jays would find it.

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