Astros interested in Berkman

Posted by Scott Wuerz on November 3, 2012 

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com that his club is interested in a reunion with former Houston star Lance Berkman.

Headed to the American League in 2013, Houston is in need of a designated hitter. And there is a thought that Berkman might be able to extend his career if he gives up playing in the field.

I'm not so sure. Berkman's bad knees have had a huge negative impact on his bat when they flared up over the last three seasons. Hopefully they Big Puma can get healthy and keep playing if he wants to. But it's a big gamble to count on him -- and to pay him -- as a regular player. If he'd take a million or two to be a pinch hitter and a reserve, I'd love to see the Cardinals bring Berkman back. But if he wants $8 million or more and a promise of playing time, I think he's too much of a risk.

Berkman could be a great positive influence on the Astros young players. But he has said repeatedly that he wants to play for a contender... and there is no chance that Houston will reside anywhere but the American League West basement. So I'm not sure of the fit.

It will also be interesting to see how Berkman is accepted back into the Astros family after broadcaster Milo Hamilton publicly criticized him for being out of shape in Houston and then losing a lot of weight before he reported to the Cardinals. Plus, there is that whole thing about toiling in Houston without success and then coming to St. Louis only to win a World Series ring in his first season.

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