Rumors: Red Sox, Rays, Phillies, Astros Interested in Lance Berkman

As we discussed yesterday, Lance Berkman still hasn't made an official decision about whether he will retire or return for a 15th season.  However, that has not stopped teams from talking with him.  He met with Houston Astros' owner Jim Crane, but he has also been contacted by numerous other teams.

Berkman has been contacted by the Boston Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Tampa Bay Rays in addition to the Astros says Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle.  Berkman has been contemplating retirement for a while now, and he is not necessarily inclined to return in 2013.

"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."
Berkman underwent surgery on his right knee in May, but the knee continued to bother him.  He had to have surgery again in September, and that procedure ultimately ended his season.  Berkman is 36 years old, he'll be 37 before the start of the 2013 season.  He's had a history of injuries including this troublesome right knee.  He understands that it might be time to call it a career, but teams throughout the league also understand that Berkman can still hit.

In just 32 games last season, Berkman hit .259/.381/.444.  In 2011, he hit .301/.412/.547 with 31 home runs.  He also made the All-Star team in 2011.  Berkman is a powerful bat and would be a nice addition to just about any roster.  However, he can only be a nice addition if he stays on the field.

The Astros (in their first year as an AL team), the Red Sox, and the Rays would seem to be the better fit for Berkman because of the designated hitter rule in the American League.  Berkman would not have to play the field everyday and could still contribute at the plate.  Philadelphia would be a stretch.  They already have enough injury-plagued players eating up payroll and taking roster spots.  It would seem unlikely Berkman would land there.

And maybe he doesn't land anywhere.  Maybe he follows through on his retirement.

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