Saturday, January 5, 2013

4 Reasons To Not Be Interested In Lance Berkman

(No thanks. Courtesy of The Daily News)

The big news of the day today is Ken Davidoff's report that the Yankees are interested in and "have been in contact with" free agent and short-time former Yankee Lance Berkman.  Berkman, as you may recall, was acquired at the 2010 trade deadline to shore up the bench, then went back to the NL with the Cardinals in 2011 and absolutely tore it up to the tune of a .408 wOBA and 163RC+.  He missed most of last season with more knee problems, and beyond just that there are a multitude of reasons to NOT be interested in Lance Berkman, not the least of which is the fact that he hasn't even officially decided if he wants to play in 2013 or the fact that he would prefer to stay in Texas to be closer to his family.  But there's actually on-field reasons too.  Check them out after the jump.

1) He's left-handed

Not technically, as Berkman will still take ABs righty.  But his right-handed hitting skills have evaporated much quicker than his skills from the left side.  And since he was never a great right-handed hitter in the first place, that basically makes him a lefty, not the type of hitter the Yankees need on their bench.  Especially since...

2) He can't play the field.  At all.

Which makes interest in him even more surprising since that would mean eating up DH at-bats that the Yankees need to spread among all their other players, with no option of putting him in the field to balance things out.  Berkman can't possibly be able to play the field on those knees anymore and remain healthy, and he showed the downside to having to use him in the field when the Yankees traded for him in 2010.

3) He wasn't all that good the last time the Yankees had him.

I remember being hopeful but not exactly optimistic about Berkman's arrival before the 2010 deadline, and he made me feel a little better for not expecting much by hitting just .255/.358/.349 (.315 wOBA) in 123 PA as a Yankee and by being a complete defensive disaster when forced into regular duty.  I know his 2011 was one of his best seasons ever, but the chances of that being repeated after more surgery are slim to none and it's part why he doesn't already have a job offer.

4) He can't possibly be any healthier than he was the last time the Yankees had him.

Berkman was a defensive wreck in 2010 in part because he was banged up the whole time, something that's been a common theme for him for the last couple years.  His knees were already shaky at their absolute best, and there isn't any way that they're going to be in better shape coming off surgeries 6 and 7 that took away so much field time in 2012.  If the Yankees are going to be giving roster spots to 37-year-old DHs, they could at least find one who could very well injure himself just from swinging the bat.

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