Friday, May 07, 2010

Lance Berkman Should Be Quiet

Lance Berkman isn't helping the Houston Astros. First, his absence (again) at the beginning of the season for the Astros didn't help them get off on the right foot. Without him being there, the team had no offense and lost their first nine games of the season. Then he finally gets back, but is hitting all of .219 and then comes out (not once, but twice) and says he'd be willing to waive his no trade clause to play for a contender. Nice.

First of all, Berkman has been a part of several Houston teams that looked moribund early in the year only to put a charge in the second half that in some cases put the Astros in the playoffs. It doesn't appear on paper that the Astros have that kind of team to do that this year. But still. Isn't he effectively telling his team that he has given up on them? Sure, he says as a postscript that he would prefer to stay with the team and that they could turn it around, but isn't that just covering his bases? If this Fan was a teammate of Berkman's, he would be called out just for what the comments are doing for his team.

But let's look at it another way? Who would want him? He makes $15 million and his health (especially his knees) is questionable. He only has one position (and DH if he goes to the AL) and he is 34 years old. Plus he has a $15 million option for next year. If the Mariners can stay close in the AL West, they could probably use him. If the Red Sox tire of David Ortiz, they could use him and afford him. If the Twins tire of Kubel/Thome, they could use him. But who else? The Dodgers? They might be so out of the race that they wouldn't bother.

Berkman has had a great career and all of his stats are fantastic for his body of work. But he's on the downside now and he's on a team that isn't going anywhere. The Fan gets that. But shouldn't those conversations be made privately with his general manager (who, by the way, seemed less than pleased with Berkman's statement)? Shouldn't that be the way Berkman handles this instead of throwing his teammates under the bus? The Fan gets a bit fed up with a big time player who gets what he wants in a long term deal with the added bonus of a no-trade clause and then when his team's fortunes go south wants to unmake the bed he put the sheets on himself.

The Fan could understand if Berkman was slugging his usual 140+ OPS+ and killing the ball. But he isn't and his early disabled list stint makes him part of the problem. When you are part of the problem and not the only shining bauble in a team full of misfits, you shouldn't be acting like you are the latter. Berkman should stay quiet in public and if he wants to get out, then work behind the scenes with his team to get out of there. He isn't doing anyone a good hill of beans by making these statements under his and his team's current situation.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

I feel bad for Astros fans. They might have the worst offense in baseball.