With the Houston Astros moving to the American League in 2013, they created a hole in their lineup because they’ll need someone to fill their designated hitter spot. General Manager Jeff Luhnow has a big task on his hands to turn around the worst team in Major League Baseball and it starts with finding a player that can bolster the lineup.
“We have, really, one spot for a bat, and we have to see who the potential players are available on the free-agent market once the top bats are off the board,” Luhnow said. “I think we want to look at all of that. We don’t want to jump into something right now without understanding what our alternatives are.”
One of the names getting tossed around today is former Astros first baseman Lance Berkman. Berkman has expressed interest in a return to the club where he made a name for himself, but indicated the price has to be right. This is a rebuilding club, so there is no way the Astros will overpay for Berkman. However, he fell off drastically for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012.
Once a forgotten man, Berkman rejuvenated his career with the Cardinals in 2011, hitting .301 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs. He battled injuries and only appeared in 32 games for the Cardinals in 2012 and it has even been said he’s contemplating retirement. If the Astros are serious about bringing Berkman in, they have to be sure of his commitment to playing.
Other names linked to this role are Travis Hafner and Carlos Pena, who would likely be cheaper options for the Astros.
Keep checking back for updates on the winter meetings at Rant Sports.