Friday, July 30, 2010

Lance Berkman

Rumors have the Yankees set to acquire Lance Berkman. Whatever. He'd be a DH for the Yanks and he's still got a useful bat, even if its not quite as potent as it used to be. Here's the thing though: the Yankees really should not have to give anything up to get him. He's due $15M this year with another $15M next year or a $2M buyout. And given his past performance, that's roughly what he's worth.

But what's the upside for the Yankees? They're already the best team in baseball, on pace to win 104 games. So Lance isn't going to get them over the hump. He's not under a favorable long term contract. The Yanks already rotate guys like Jeter, A-Rod, and Posada through the DH slot on a regular basis, so his impact there is muted. There's almost no upside in the regular season for the Yanks.

And I'm sure they know this. Getting Lance Berkman would be about October. But given that the Yanks are already loaded and that the postseason is such a crap shoot, how much value does he really add there? Still not that much, though, of course, with an extreme amount of variance, given how elevated the stakes are (note, of course, that this variance cuts both ways).

There's just no way the Yanks should be giving up something of value, like a decent player under team control at cut-rate salary for the next three to six years, so that maybe Lance Berkman might have a big postseason hit. I know it seems crazy, but given Berkman's salary, age, and performance, he's just not worth that much in a trade.

In any case, the current rumors have the Yankees sending Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes to Houston. If so, I suspect it's a reasonable deal. Melancon could become a useful reliever, but as far as young relievers go, he's not high on New York's list. Paredes is a C prospect but still too far from the big leagues to really have a good read on him.

Anyway, I hope these rumors are true, not because it would be a good deal (it seems pretty balanced to me), but because when I heard the rumors initially, I was scared half to death that the Yankees would actually give up a top 10 type prospect, which (again) would be a ridiculous overpay for a few months of Lance Berkman at this stage in his career and with his salary. That does not appear to be the case. Phew.

** UPDATE ** It now appears that the Astros would pitch $4M in as well. That pretty much makes the deal as even as it could be.


rklllama said...

I see we've had the same reaction.

Lance Berkman? Neat.

Keeping Montero? Thank God.

John Lynch said...

Yeah, exactly. Trading Montero, Joba, Gardner, or any of our other players with the ability to add substantial value over the next three to eight years would be crazy. The Yanks aren't in a position where they need to push to win now. Their window is not closing, so there's no reason to proceed with some sort of false urgency.