A’s going hard after Lance Berkman?

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has a story posted on free agent Lance Berkman that’s pretty interesting reading for A’s fans. Among other things, Berkman says the A’s have been the “most aggressive” team in terms of making contact with him. He also says he’s fully recovered from arthroscopic knee surgery that hindered him the entire 2010 season, and that he considers himself ready to play first base or the outfield. Last year, Berkman was the Astros’ first baseman until his July 31 trade to the Yankees, who used him as a DH. The switch-hitter hasn’t played the outfield since 2007. Berkman told Rosenthal that he believes the A’s are searching for a DH, but that he still wants to play the field. He also notes the A’s have Daric Barton at first base and lots of outfielders already.

I reported the A’s had interest in Berkman in a Nov. 13 story, and from what I’m hearing, they might consider him on a one or two-year deal (Berkman turns 35 shortly before spring training begins). He’s coming off a down year offensively, hitting .248 with 14 homers and 58 RBIs. But he hit 25 homers as recently as 2009. I would expect the A’s are viewing him as a potential full-time DH. But all three of the A’s projected starting outfielders at this point — David DeJesus, Coco Crisp and Ryan Sweeney — battled injuries last season, so I’d say there’s a chance Berkman would get to play some outfield were he to join the A’s.

Of course, he’s just one of several power-hitting types who could make sense for Oakland. But how would you feel about Berkman’s name in the 2011 lineup?

Joe Stiglich

  • Andy K

    pass – looks like another Piazza or the second time around of Jason Giambi or Frank Thomas.

    Meanwhile, the A’s have been adding lack luster hitting outfielders, error prone 3rd baseman, and been chasing more pitching.

    We need a 25-30 HR guy or two. Isn’t this obvious?

  • crister

    the only lumbering bad body/slugger type that i would really get excited over is adam dunn… otherwise, all the other names feel like more of the same. a year too late and a bat too slow.

    i know barton’s got a high obp and his defense is supposed to be wow, but i’m just not a fan. especially if there’s no one else that can pick up the slack for his total lack of production. chris carter, barton, sweeney, all these free agent names… somethings’ got to give.

  • Angry A’s Fan

    Of the guys available, I’d make a serious run at Adam Dunn, and if not him than Carlos Pena. We need home runs and RBI…. nothing more, nothing less. I don’t care about batting average or walks or sabermetrics or geek stats. Just run production. There is already a walk machine at first base and speed in center field and shortstop. Power is what’s going to give this team a chance to win division titles and contend for a World Series berth. The A’s need to go for it now. It’s only a matter of time before Billy starts selling off the pitchers. We may have a two-year window before another garage sale will take place off Hegenbeger.

  • Angry A’s Fan

    Crister…. I’m with you on Barton. Love his defense, but he’s too patient at the plate. % HR, 50 RBI is unacceptable at 1B if you don’t have a bunch of bashers elsewhere. . If Dunn can be brought in to DH that’s fine. But if Lance Berkman is the A’s magic bean, then trade Barton, Jemile Weeks and another prospect for Prince Fielder and see if he can put you over the top for a year before he becomes a free agent at the end of the year. You need to win now guys. We know you can’t afford/are too cheap to commit to Anderson, Cahill and Gonzalez for years to come. We’re not naive enough to think we’ll have Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine for the long haul. If they weren’t going to commit to the original Big 3, what makes us think the next wave won’t be broken up sooner than later?

  • Oakland Sí

    I agree with Crister. Other than Adam Dunn there’s no reason for the A’s to go after an aging slugger who has seen his best years.

  • crister

    dejesus seems like a good version of what sweeney should be and barton in turn like a shorter version of sweeney. take all the walks you can of course, but if all you’re doing is hitting singles and slapping rinky dink doubles that you have to leg out and be way below average with runners in scoring position, then what is it you do exactly? it wouldn’t even be so bad if there were other guys in the lineup that could pick up the first base slack, but alas, there isn’t anyone. funny, swisher would appear to fill a lot of needs, but…

    if the dejesus, crisp, sweeney outfield holds for next season, then you have to wonder… what’s going to be done about the offensive blackholes at the first and third base corners? ellis is ellis and pennington? well, he’s nice and fast.

    uggla would have looked real sweet at third. adam dunn…be still my beating heart. berkman just feels like a headscratcher. it’s not 2007 anymore.

  • dale

    I agree with you all 100% i would love to see oakland get Adam Dunn i think he is the most underaided player in baseball. With oakland not signing the pitcher from Japan A’s should have more then enough money to sign beltre and Dunn but by some magic they do work a deal with the pitcher i think berkman would be a nice addition Dunn im sure looking for around 40 million for 2 years and berkman around 15 million for 2 years. If oakland did sign berkman i would start him in left put dejesus in right even tho weak arm and have encaricion as DH he is a 20 to 30 homer guy and sweeny would be backup or trade bait. Regardless we prolly just dreaming anyhow im sure the A’s will just sign beltre and no one else or just sign one more free agent so im sure we will be in for a heartbreaking year like usually

  • i.p. daily

    Barton was demonstrating some power towards the end of the season – however Lance Berkman or Carlos Pena would be a welcome addition at 1st base. (The A’s need some sluggers big-time.)

  • Think we need a good third baseman.

  • Bryan

    Please!!! Spare us the indignity of watching another over the hill hack steal money on the DL. This is no way to move the needle with the A’s fans. With your attempt at the Japanese pitcher about to fall apart, you can not afford to go into Spring Training with Lance Berkman as your crowning off-season addition. If you can’t sign Beltre or Dunn, just give up already. Let Cahill, Gonzalez and Anderson go for some more prospects and we can all enjoy the view of empty seats at the Coliseum again!

  • Bash Brother

    Stop being such negative Nancys. If you are an A’s fan, you are use to this “Torture”, like the Giants like to put their claim on. We need more power. That has been the obvious need for some years now. You can always switch teams and support the orage and black, but that would just be stupid. The A’s will win again.

  • pboss

    I don’t think it matters. Based on those comments, it doesn’t sound like he wants to come here anyway.

  • Jason

    +1 here too. no more washed up players pleez!!!! spend some $$$ and get a younger guy. we need this to happen now before they trade away our pitching staff!!!!

  • Son of Hendu

    I’d take him over Cust any day of the week.

  • Chris

    Love it! I hope the A’s can get Big Puma. I think he is a much safer bet then old man Giambi or Frank Thomas Part 2 were. Great clubhouse presence is a must and I would love to take those 25+ HR’s to the bank!

  • dale

    Anyone is better then Cust now there are rumors that A’s going after Mark Reyonlds

  • Jason

    Cust the Bust!!!

  • raiderd

    The A’s are still the minor league team developing talent for the big money franchises of MLB. As soon as the young players are ready to produce, the A’s will trade them for more prospects and repeat the cycle. My frustration as a fan is that Lewis Wolfe seems to be satisfied just being competitive on a budget without really contending.

  • John

    In the past three years, Jack Cust actually has more hr’s than Berkman and only 50 less rbi (with no one protecting him anywhere in the order). His batting avg has been about .250 with Berkman’s being around .275, but Cust’s batting avg has gone up three years in row and Berkman’s has gone down three years in a row. Cust is 4 years younger and not coming off an injury plagued season. Unless Berkman’s going to play for less than 3 million, the A’s might as well keep Cust…they’re basically the same player (God, they even look alike). Is it any wonder that the A’s are the only team actively courting him?!? They’ll probably wind up paying him 8 million for one year and wind up with the same numbers Cust could have produced for 3-4 million. Makes no sense at all…