Right now, Lance Berkman and the Yankees are a perfect fit. The Yankees need a designated hitter against right-handed starters, and Berkman needs a place where his veteran bat won’t be wasted on a middle-of-the-pack, no-longer-playing team in the National League Central. Last night was a perfect example of just how well the two fit together.
But this might not be a long-term match.
“I don’t like to platoon,” Berkman told Brian Heyman this afternoon. “If I was the manager, I would platoon me because I’ve been so bad right-handed this year, but I don’t think that’s a permanent problem. I’ve never been as good right-handed as I have left-handed, but I certainly can be a lot more competitive than I’ve been this year. And I like to play everyday. The DH is great, but I like to play the field. I feel like I’ve got something to offer still defensively. I’m not saying I won’t consider coming back as a DH. But I like to play.”
There’s a lot of honesty in those 100 words. Berkman has a $15 million club option for next season, and it’s hard to imagine the Yankees picking it up. Even if the Yankees wanted to bring him back on a different deal, first base isn’t open and it’s been a long time since Berkman played the outfield. This might be a short-term match, and one that really helps both parties.
As for where Berkman ends up next year, the obvious possibility is Houston.
“I would think that they might (have interest), but once you’ve cut ties, they might want to go with a youth movement,” Berkman said. “I don’t know what they’re thinking.”
Associated Press photo