The Rangers and Lance Berkman

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 20: Lance Berkman #12 of the St. Louis Cardinals walks back to the dugout after striking out during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Per the Twitterverse, Ben Rogers is saying on ESPN 103.3 that the Rangers have interest in St. Louis Cardinals 1B/OF Lance Berkman, who cleared waivers last week, and thus can be traded to any team.

Lance Berkman

#12 / Right Field / St. Louis Cardinals





Feb 10, 1976

The Rangers were interested in Berkman this offseason, and of course, Berkman said after signing with the Cardinals that he thought the Rangers were an "average" team that had pitchers performing over their heads last season, and that he passed on them even though he could have made more money with Texas.

The Cardinals are now out of the race, and thus are in a position to trade Berkman.  That said, they aren't going to just give him away, as they apparently have an interest in re-signing him to return for 2012.

That being said, Berkman seems like a good fit for the Rangers, particularly with Nelson Cruz grabbing his hamstring and coming out of the game last night.  First off, much to my surprise (I thought he was close to done last year), he's been a terrific hitter in 2011:

2011 - Lance Berkman 118 391 73 113 18 1 30 81 77 75 0 4 .289 .405 .570

Yes, he's playing in the weaker league, but he's still drawing a bunch of walks, he's hitting for power, and he's a switch-hitter.  If Cruz is going to miss significant time, Berkman could slide into the lineup and more than fill his shoes with the bat.  

And come playoff time, he gives the Rangers some options in case Mitch Moreland (.258/.309/.395 since June 1) continues to struggle, or if Adrian Beltre or Nelson Cruz have hamstring problems again.  But a potential October lineup of:

Ian Kinsler -- 2B

Elvis Andrus -- SS

Josh Hamilton -- CF or LF

Adrian Beltre -- 3B

Lance Berkman -- 1B

Michael Young -- DH

Nelson Cruz -- RF or LF

Mike Napoli -- C

Mitch Moreland/David Murphy/Craig Gentry -- Other OF spot

Is pretty tasty.  

The rub is the cost, of course, and I don't know that I want to part with real prospects to get a bat for a month plus the playoffs, particularly if Cruz isn't on the shelf for a long time.  

Its intriguing, though...and with August 31 being just two days away, we should know one way or the other pretty quickly.

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