Does signing Lance Berkman mean the Rangers have made up entirely for the loss of Josh Hamilton?
Dave Cameron has a piece over at FanGraphs where he suggests that, by signing Lance Berkman, the Rangers may have essentially recovered what they lost when Josh Hamilton left for Anaheim.
Cameron leans heavily on the ZiPS projections for Hamilton in Anaheim, with ZiPS anticipating a dramatic drop in 2013 -- a .267/.329/.481 slash line for Josh in 584 plate appearances. That would mean Hamilton would actually provide the Angels with less offensive value than the man he is replacing, Torii Hunter, did in 2012. And of course, Cameron notes that while Berkman has questions about his ability to stay healthy, Hamilton has those same issues swirling around him, as well.
The interesting thing to me about the 2013 Angels is that, while they have generated quite a bit of hype so far over the incredible collection of bats they will be rolling out there, it is not unreasonable to believe that they will be worse offensively in 2013 than in 2012. If ZiPS is right, replacing Hunter with Hamilton is essentially a wash. I think Mike Trout is great, but I don't think he's likely to improve on his offensive performance from last year. Albert Pujols is a year older. Mark Trumbo is still Mark Trumbo. Kendrys Morales is gone. There's not a lot of reason to expect a big offensive improvement from the Angels in 2013.
That being said, there's also not much reason to expect Lance Berkman to replicate what Josh Hamilton did in 2012. Angst and drama over his mid-season slump notwithstanding, Hamilton still had a terrific offensive season in 2012, putting up a .285/.354/.577 line, and even if Berkman is healthy all year, he's probably not doing that. Even with a healthy and productive Berkman, if the Rangers are going to match what they did in terms of scoring runs last year, they're going to need better seasons from Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz, as well as a decent level of production from Leonys Martin and their catchers.