Reports out of Denver say that former Astros slugger Lance Berkman is close to signing with Colorado.
It's something of a surprise because Berkman's wheels seem to be in serious decline so he has designated hitter written all over him. But he has said he doesn't want to be a DH, so maybe playing in the field is worth more to him than extending his career. I can respect that.
But I don't know where Berkman expects to play. Todd Helton is going to man first base for Colorado for at least another season. Berkman could platoon with him since he's a switch hitter. But he's probably going to have to play a significant amount of innings in the outfield for the first time in a long time.
The Cardinals had been rumored to be interested in Berkman as a power bat off the bench who could spend some time in the outfield. But most people I have talked to seemed to think that was a pretty bad idea. Berkman would be brutal in the outfield. Besides, he likely wanted more money than the Birds were willing to pay to fill that role.
The Cubs were also said to be interested in Berkman, and he might have made some sense there. The Wee Bears have a first base vacancy with the departure of Derek Lee and Berkman could be a cheaper option for a team that would like to slice off some payroll. But I would prefer to see Chicago sign Adam Dunn to a four-year contract to play first base to keep their club out of the contention for Albert Pujols if he should become a free agent.
Then again, the Cubs might not see Dunn as a Pujols blocker. The way they run their operation, they'd probably just move The Big Donkey to right field to make room. That would be a historically bad outfield with Dunn and Alfonso Soriano manning the corners.