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Is Berkman ready to retire?

Former Cardinals slugger Lance Berkman has made it through Christmas without a contract. 

Although he claimed that it might be January before he makes a final decision on if he'll play another year, I'm starting to think he's likely to retire.

Berkman's best fit was likely a return to Houston where the Astros needed a DH upon their switch to the American League. The longtime Houston player would be a popular addition to a club that's in full blow rebuilding mode. Fans there haven't had much to cheer for in a while.

But that opportunity seemed to pass when Houston added first baseman and designated hitter Carlos Pena to its roster.

Berkman claimed to the Houston press to have four teams express serious interest in him. One of them is the Astros. Another is the Red Sox. While the other two aren't clear, the Rangers were interested in Berkman before he signed with the Cardinals. And their need for a power bat is only enhanced by losing Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli to free agency.

If Berkman planned to play -- or at least if he thought he was going to be physically able to play -- it seems that he would be more vigorously pursuing an opportunity. His attitude seems to indicate that he could take or leave playing another year. And, for a guy who puts his all into it like The Big Puma, that would seem to be a strong indication that he's ready to hang it up.