Lance Berkman missed much of the 2012 season with the St. Louis Cardinals and has hinted at the posibility of retirement. However, he has not completely ruled out a return. Berkman is a free agent this offseason, and he has reportedly been talking with Houston Astros' owner Jim Crane.
According to ESPN and the AP, Berkman and Crane had preliminary talks to see where both sides were at. There is some obvious concern about Berkman's knee and how much money he will be looking for. However, with the Astros moving to the American League, Berkman may be a better fit there than he would have been in St. Louis. The Cardinals have already said they probably won't bring Berkman back. Crane was careful in not expressing - or revealing - his interest in Berkman too much, but he does believe Berkman wants to be an Astro.
"I think he has an interest," Crane told KRIV-TV. "All of that will depend on his knee and probably the price, if he gets any other offers or what. If all that works out -- and there are a lot of ifs there -- possibly he could do some DH-ing for us."
Berkman played 12 seasons with Houston. In those 12 seasons, he helped the team to the playoffs three times including a run to the World Series. Berkman hit .296/.410/.549 with the Astros. He was an offensive force who would often put on shows during batting practice. The switch-hitter may go down in history as one of the greatest switch-hitters to play the game, but his knee have betrayed him as he got older.
Berkman only played in 32 games for the Cardinals this past season because of his knee injury. Since 2005, Berkman has four seasons in which he has played in less than 140 games. At 37 years old and coming off this injury, it's understandable for the Astros to be hesitant in showing interest. After all, it wasn't all that long ago that we all thought Berkman was going to retire.
If Houston does ultimately sign Berkman, it would be a nice gesture in allowing him to finish his carer with the club that brought him to the big leagues. But Berkman is a borderline Hall of Famer. He's not going to come cheap.