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One of the Red Sox needs this season is a first baseman. There are several options, including Mike Napoli and Adam LaRoche.
Playing at Fenway Park, Napoli has a .462 average, while LaRoche has a .083 average. Napoli is seen as the better option because he dominates at Fenway and he has flexibility around the field. But according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, the Red Sox have been “kicking the tires” on Lance Berkman.
The 36-year-old has had an overall productive career. But, having a severe knee injury last season caused a major decline in his numbers. After having knee surgery, Berkman considered retiring.
Would Lance Berkman have made a good addition ten years ago? Of course! But, would Berkman be a good addition now? No way!
Here are a few reasons why.
The Red Sox went down with several injuries this season. David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Will Middlebrooks all went down with injuries and missed a substantial amount of time. The most reliable bats at that time were Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross. The Sox were not able to have a threat in the lineup.
If the Red Sox sign Berkman, he would not be close to being that needed threat. In the 2011 season, Berkman was a huge factor in the Cardinals lineup, batting a .301 average with 31 home runs, 94 RBI’s, and a .412 OBP. Only playing 32 games this season, Berkman hit .259 average with 2 home runs, 7 RBI’s and a .381 OBP.
He can’t be considered a lineup threat after last year’s awful season and possible complications with his knee injury down the road.
Berkman right now is considering playing one more season or retiring because of having knee issues. If he is having knee issues and considering retirement, how would signing him improve the Red Sox? And if Berkman does go down with a knee injury, which seems most likely to happen, how would the Red Sox respond? Scrutinizing Berkman’s 2012 season, the Sox have to have in the back of their mind the thought that Berkman would most likely get injured during the season.
Even though Berkman would be a cheap option, it would be a hassle for the Red Sox to come up with a backup plan for once the season begins. The Sox know injuries occur during the season, but the Sox should not go into the 2013 expecting a likely injury to Berkman.
To people thinking if it would be a good idea to sign Berkman, one of the reasons people may not want the Sox to sign him is because of his age. Entering his 13th season at the age of 36, it is not fair to use his age because the Sox did sign David Ortiz, who is entering his 16th season at the age of 37, to a 2-year deal worth $26 million. The difference between Ortiz and Berkman though is Ortiz can still produce. Ortiz, who played 90 games this season, hit .318 with 23 home runs, 60 RBI’s, and a .415 OBP.
Even at the age of 37, Ortiz still showed signs that he can still contribute and be a threat in the lineup. Although Ortiz went through a lingering Achilles strain injury, he is still the face of the Red Sox. Lance Berkman is showing signs of a major decline to a point where he may not produce at all.
Signing Berkman would be a risky move that the Red Sox should not waste time on.