FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has the scoop:
Free agent Lance Berkman still has not decided that he will play in 2013. But he is talking about a possible return with multiple clubs, including the Texas Rangers, major-league sources say.
Berkman — a native of Waco, Texas — considered signing with the Rangers before the 2011 season but instead joined the Cardinals and went on to win his first World Series ring. He re-signed with St. Louis for the 2012 season but appeared in only 23 games because of knee and calf issues.
The 36-year-old could serve as the Rangers’ primary designated hitter this summer — a role manned last year by Michael Young. Berkman has undergone multiple recent knee procedures but is claiming to be healthy.
The Astros are also known to have interest, but “Big Puma” probably prefers to join a contender.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.