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08/20/2013

The perfect ending for Lance Berkman

BerkmanARLINGTON, Texas - The Texas Rangers' decision to sign veteran DH Lance Berkman is this close to becoming a full blown waste unless he contributes anything in September.

The one-year, $11 million deal was thought to be a similar dice roll the Rangers took in 2010 when they did with Vlad Guerrero, which worked out huge. The deal with Berkman has been a bust because, as expected, he can't stay healthy. Despite what the Rangers say, his bat has slowed as well.

He said on Monday he still wants to play, but the only way he thinks he will be activated any time soon is on Sept. 1 when MLB teams are allowed to expand their rosters.

"It would be perfect if today was Sept. 1," Berkman told us media nerds on Monday.

He hasn't played since July 6 because of an assortment of leg injuries. In 282 plate appearances, he has just six home runs with 34 RBI and is batting .254. He's 37, and clearly the injuries and age are winning.

Perhaps with just 30 or so games, plus the postseason, Berkman can find the Fountain of 35 and contribute a few timely hits. He is a total pro, and has wonderful plate discipline that can be invaluable in the postseason when nerves have their way with even the more established hitters. Guys who make contact never go out of style, provided he can still make contact.

The Rangers are where they are without Berkman, so anything he does is gravy.

He wants to play, and the ideal situation is that he is activated, contributes a few key hits during an extended playoff run and then walk away from a game he has tried to quit many times before.

It would be the nice ending for a guy who is as Texan as they come - went to New Braunfels, Rice, drafted and played for the Astros and finishes with the Rangers.

He is a good dude who hopefully has a little left to provide a better finish to an All-Star career.

@MacEngelProf
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Comments

Clint Lisle

Way to tell it Mac. The Rangers also know that as long as we can make the playoffs and Berkman can get as healthy as possible, the $11 million is not a waste. The alternative would have been Berkman playing, wearing himself down, not being able to be as effective in October, and keeping some young guys from getting the chance to see a lot of playing time. It's great that we are playing well without him because this will provide more depth and experience come playoff time. This situation is a total blessing in disguise that will only be vindicated with a championship but that's just how baseball go. If we make the playoffs, Berkman's mid-season absence is worth more than if he had played.

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