The New York Yankees seem to have one strategy this off season. They want to sign older players near the end of their careers to 1 year deals, and their interest in veteran Lance Berkman is the perfect example of this trend.
Berkman is entering his 15th major league season and will be the ripe age of 37 at the end of 2013 campaign. The Yanks have their eye on Berkman’s bat, he’s a switch hitter that would DH and could possibly play a little first base whenever Mark Teixeira needs a rest.
In Berkman’s career he has over 800 extra base hits, which includeds 360 home runs. Last season was a lost season for the veteran. Berkman played in only 32 games, hitting .259 with 2 homers and 7 RBIs. However, before last season Berkman failed to hit at least 20 homers once since 2000 and that was back in 2010 when he had a brief stint with the Yankees toward the end of that season.
In 2010 Berkman played 37 games with the Bronx Bombers. He hit .255, well below his career average of .296, and hit 1 homerun while driving in just 9 RBIs. It’s this lack of production that have led to some skepticism if Berkman would even want to come back to New York especially with a couple Texas teams being in the mix for his services too.
What teams hope to get from Berkman, is that he can return healthy in 2013 and duplicate his 2011 production. In 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Berkman hit .301 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs. That kind of production any team could use.
Berkman, coming off a horrible, injury plagued season, is seen to be the stereotypical low risk, high reward kind of player. This is exactly the kind of players the New York Yankees are looking to fill out their roster with. Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman are dead set on getting their team under the $189 million dollar luxury tax for 2014 and 1 year deals to veteran players is how they plan on accomplishing that goal. So with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to camp just a little over a month away, players like Berkman are going to become hot commodities as teams look to fill out rosters.