11/23 Berkman wants to play

The Cubs are in pursuit of a first baseman this offseason and one option
could be Lance Berkman. He told FoxSports.com that the Cubs are one of
the teams that has talked to his agent. Berkman said the A’s have been
the “most aggressive” but they want someone who will DH. He would like to return to
the National League, which would work in the Cubs’ favor. Berkman made $14.5
million last season and would have to accept less money to sign with the
Cubs.

Berkman, who will be 35 on Feb. 10, said he was limited in 2010 after arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left knee.

“I’m
probably viewed as a declining player,” Berkman told FoxSports.com. “I
don’t blame teams for thinking like that. But I don’t view myself that
way. If I was to honestly assess where I’m at, I feel like last year was
the result of me being hurt.

“My knee was hurt all year. The
kind of injury I had prevented me from using my legs when I hit. In my
mind, I can scratch that off and say that I’ll be healthy next year, be
the player I was prior to the 2009 season. That’s kind of how I’m
looking at it.

“Obviously, I’ve got to get an opportunity,” he said. “I’ve got to go out there and prove it.”

– Carrie Muskat

15 Comments

I don’t see spending any amount of money on an injury prone and aging first baseman unless it’s based on incentives. Berkman could bust out and have a great offensive year for the Cubs, but his health scares me. I would have rather saved the money and let Micah Hoffpauir and Bryan LaHair compete for firstbase in the spring.

Ron

Well Hoffpauir is not an option anymore. This is an indictment on Hendry. Hendry knew exactly WHEN D. Lee would be winding down his Cub career. Lee was on the team for 6+ years. SIX YEARS Hendry had to come up with a “plan” for somebody to take over for Lee either by drafting of trading for a young stud first baseman two or three years ago in anticipation of Lee’s departure. But when you run a multi million dollar payroll by the seat of your pants and go whichever way the wind blows this is what you get…ANOTHER year of Hendry scrambling to fill jerseys via bottom dwelling free agents. Bradley, Nady, Baker, Tracy… my God why even go on with the list?????

I’d rather hold out for Adrian Gonzalez. Having said that, Berkman could possibly be a good fit provided he is willing to accept less money and play under an incentive-based contract for a year. If he gets healthy and returns to form, then Lance Berkman could very well be the answer the Cubs are looking for. Of course, there are unanswered questions with his health and ability to hit like he once did.

joeydafish has it right, its not like the cubs were caught surprised. well, if Berkman is willing to earn half what he earned this year, i think he deserves a chance. the cubs are going nowhere with or without him anyway.

I like Berkman, but I still think Konerko would be a better choice just because of Konerko being a more potent hitter. It depends I guess, I still really believe that the Cubs need to build through the farm system, drafts and the minors. Look at Colvin and Castro. The Cubs are in rebuilding mode.

–Mark Gauthier

http://cubden.mlblogs.com/

@joeydafish, you are dead on about Hendry. Hoffpauir is in Japan now and I know we don’t have any other options in the minors right now outside of LaHair. If we can’t trade Fukudome then I say move Colvin to first. Let him play everday and let’s see how well he can produce.
Also, I think trying to trade for Adrian Gonzalez would be great for the cubs if possible.

Ron

ronlang44 you may be right about Fukodome in right and Colvin at first, but that’s kind of sad isn’t it? Because of Hendry’s blatant failure at his job we are now faced with “accepting the inevitable” instead of IMPROVING our beloved Cubs. Playing Colvin at first is just an option but hardly the ideal option and can’t be disguised as what Hendry had in mind all along. Colvin came through the ranks as an outfielder and a good one at that, not just a plodding no-defense outfielder that would best be served by being “stuck” at first base. Hendry completely mis-evaluated his own personel when signing Soriano and Fukodome to 8 and 4 year deals. He must have thought NOT ONE of his own young outfielders had what it takes to play in Wrigley…along comes Colvin…oops! I’d rather see Fukodome ride the bench as a defensive sub (God knows we need one until Soriano is gone) for all three outfield spots, Colvin play regularly in right, his natural position, “stick” Ramirez at first base and play Vitters at 3B, see what he’s got and give him the whole (wasted) year of 2011 to get his career launched OR NOT. What better year than 2011 to think outside the box? Maybe Vitters and Colvin everyday is what the team needs???? Sad sack Hendry.

Joeydafish, I agree that Colvin would be better in rightfield. Don’t forget Brett Jackson and Brandon Guyer in the outfield mix either. I think both of these guys could be in the outfield with Colvin in 2012. Unfortunately, We’re stuck with Soriano’s contract and while I like Marlon Byrd a lot, he’s not a long term solution either. Maybe I have too much faith in these young guys, but I say we give them a chance to prove themselves.

Ron

I will just say I would rather see Colvin at first then us getting someone who we over pay for or if Fukudome is still around takes away from Colvin’s PT… we got to get this guy on the field everyday no matter what… if last year was a flash in the pan we will know but simply platooning him with someone is not the best way to figure out what we have… First base is an easy position to play… and if Colvin does step up and take the reigns in is a great position for a leader (which I think Colvin could be)… I don’t want Berkman he is 35 and would be a bandage to the wound… someone like Fielder or Gonzo is absolutely what we need and I would spend whatever we could to get either of them… lock them up just like Soriano… having one of those big bats in the lineup will only make Soriano better end of story… bash him if you like but we need him

For 2012 would the Cubs be a better team with Colvin in right, Ramirez at first and Vitters at third and Fukodome on the bench or Fukodome in right, Colvin at first and Ramirez at third with Vitters in AAA? May not be much of a difference except for the fact we find out about Vitters sooner rather than later and our bench would be stronger as God knows both Soriano and Byrd will need somebody to spell them, Soriano because his defense sucks and Byrd because he plays all out (opposite of Soriano…). I can’t agree with anybody that opines we NEED Soriano. This isn’t the Soriano of the Yankees or even the Nationals, this is the older, slower, more prone to striking out, more prone to injury HENDRY Soriano….we really NEED…HIM? I think what was meant was we need Soriano to get younger, faster and better defensivley and evidently only Hendry foolishly believed THAT is the natural process of life when signing him to EIGHT FRIGGIN’ YEARS. NOBODY should ever let him off the hook for that deal which was strike one, stike two being Bradley and strike three being…well pick one, there’s plenty of strike threes. Why isn’t he OUT?

I meant 2011, not 2012.

We don’t need him. His defense improved last year from the previous year only because his previous year’s defense was off the charts bad, and I’m including all the “plays” that don’t get in the stat book such as bad routes, turning singles into doubles etc. Sure I’m stuck on Hendry’s bad moves, Soriano’s 8 year deal being one of his worst but that does not take away the kind of player Soriano is…a declining offensive threat and a terrible outfielder all errors aside he has no instincts when it comes to fielding his position. If Soriano went down with a season ending injury then you would see who we “have” to replace him. No doubt if it’s a rookie the kid may or may not be a better offensive player (yet?) than Sorinao but what if there is another Colvin or somebody better? Worse without him? How bad could we get? I’d rather have another Fukodome and his 60-70 rbi, excellent glove, good instincts and decent speed than Soriano…and I don’t care much for Fukodome. If Soriano was sigend to the 3-4 year deal he should have received then we would have to have a replacement anyway. Saying there is nobody to replace Soriano is saying he is irreplacable….that is NOT the case.

sorry joey i am just not on the same page with you… we NEED Soriano… is he overpaid? ABSOLUTELY… is an 8 year contract ridiculous? ABSOLUTELY!… but the fact of the matter is we can’t trade him…. we can’t bench him… his defense is IMPROVING! You can’t deny that… he played more innings last year and had 5 fewer errors… I think his decline in speed is more due to Pinella not stealing bases. So I think the upcoming season Quade will hopefully show that the Cubs can and will play some more small ball. Joey you are so stuck on all the things that Hendry is doing bad that you can’t see that we still need Soriano. He ain’t going to win a gold glove or a silver slugger award BUT he still produces and we have no one better to replace him with that is as good or better. I am not a Soriano fan at all but we are worse without him…. end of story… no way around it…

Uh…we need all players to produce. What we don’t need is somebody like Sorinao that is well past his worth. He is now “producing” only at the rate of a midling veteran, combine that with his inferior production, his lack of instincts, lack of defense, lack of youth and lack of baserunning skills….we don’t need HIM, what we need is the Soriano of over 4 years ago but Hendry saw no use for him THEN so he settles for the warm body Soriano and signs him to the biggest laughingstock contract in Cubs’ history? C’mon. We won’t be seeing the likes of Carl Crawford or Jason Werth and it’s because Hendry robbed the vault to pay Soriano. I am not blaming Soriano for getting old, injured or less productive as he, I, and everybody knew it was inevitable…except for Hendry, the ONE MAN that should have known is left drooling at the GM/winter meetings with no trade bait and no money, pinning his hopes on the likes of Baker, DeWitt, Silva, Fukdome….anybody excited yet? There would be more excitment AND hope IF Quade benched Soriano and some others in favor of some unproven rookies with fire in their bellys as we wouldn’t know what to expect from them but we sure know what we’re getting with Hendry and his free agents. Exception being Byrd, who is at this moment probably hoping for a trade being the only valuable veteran Hendry got luck with.

Soriano is overpaid and is a terrible defender, but we need him to produce since he’s not going anywhere any time soon. I would like the Cubs to focus on a longterm plan instead of guys like Berkman. Let’s build a dynasty here Mr. Ricketts instead of putting a bandaid on a major wound!

Ron

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