Lance Berkman's words indicate that he's interested in playing on. But between the lines it seems as if he's leaning towards retirement.
The injured slugger told the Houston press Friday that he'd be interested in coming back to the Astros who will be looking for a designated hitter in 2013 as they move to the American League.
But then he went on to say that he's only interested if a team is interested in paying him a reasonable rate for an everyday player who hits third in the batting order. In other words, a guy who will be 37 before next season starts who played in only 32 games last year because he had to have two mid-season knee surgeries wants to be paid several million dollars to get up off his sofa.
That sounds to me as if he's putting himself in a situation where no one would possibly make an offer to play in 2013. It's possible that a team could offer Berkman a contract for $4 million or less to be a part time first baseman and pinch hitter. But it would be shocking to see any club give him the $12 million the Cardinals paid Berkman in 2012.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Astros owner Jim Crane acknowledged that he met with Berkman. But he was very casual in his response. So, either the pair is too far apart to realistically believe a deal will get done. Or else they're both playing a pretty serious game of hard to get.
Meanwhile, Berkman has volunteered as an assistant coach at Rice University in Houston where he went to college.