Lance Berkman made headlines last week for saying he’d be open to a trade and suggesting the Astros would be smart to deal him, and yesterday Roy Oswalt joined him in publicly saying he’d be open to a move.
Oswalt said during an interview with MLB Network Radio that he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause for a move to a “true contender” and, like Berkman, explained why the Astros would be smart to pursue a deal.
When you get to a point where you need to start rebuilding they’re going to start with a guy that’s got a lot of value and I understand that if I’m throwing well that they maybe can get two or three guys that can fill holes that they need.
Obviously the Astros aren’t going to get as much in return for Berkman and Oswalt as they would have, say, two years ago, but whatever they do get back will almost surely help jumpstart the rebuilding process more than a 32-year-old and a 34-year-old. Oswalt has a 2.63 ERA in seven starts and Berkman is hitting well again following knee surgery, so general manager Ed Wade should be working the phones pretty hard.
Oswalt makes $15 million this season and $16 million next season, with a $16 million option or $2 million buyout for 2012. Berkman makes $14.5 million this season with a $15 million option or $2 million buyout for 2011.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .