When it comes to some of the greatest Houston Astros of the past couple decades, guys like Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell are obviously the front runners as they played their entire careers for the Astros. But not far behind them is Lance Berkman, one of the best switch hitters the MLB has seen.
In Berkman’s ten-plus years with the Astros, he averaged 30 home runs, 95 walks and a .410 OBP. All of those numbers would have been a welcome addition to the current Astros.
But it wasn’t for his potential numbers that the Astros should have brought the Big Puma back. Berkman’s 37-year-old body was clearly breaking down. He had seen a decline in his production in the past 3-4 years of his career.
But being a Rice product who grew up in Texas, no one had more appreciation for the Astros than Berkman, who should have been able to retire as an Astros’ legend. It would have been incredibly useful to have someone like Berkman to impart that love of Houston on the young players that are coming up to be the face of that very team.
Not only that, but I’ve said it before, the Astros cannot have enough veterans in Spring Training. They brought in Cesar Izturis for a similar purpose. Veterans are incredibly useful on a young team. They serve as player coaches, in effect. To have young players around them, soaking in their knowledge, can obviously be quite beneficial to a team built of nearly 90 percent prospects.
And of course, as aforementioned, it would have been nice to let Berkman retire an Astro.