UPDATE: Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegramreports that Berkman will need to get 525-550 at-bats for the 2014 option to vest. He hasn’t had that many at-bats in a season since 2008.
3:56 PM: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Berkman will get a $10 million salary for 2013 while the vesting option includes a $1 million buyout.
3:42 PM: Multiple reports state that the deal is done, pending a physical. Rosenthal confirms that Berkman will get a one-year, $11 million deal with a vesting option for 2014. The Rangers will obviously look great if this works out, but they are taking on an awful lot of risk here.
3:22 PM: Rosenthal adds that Berkman’s deal with the Rangers is worth $10-11 million for one year. Given his age and knee issues, that seems a little rich.
2:28 PM: Nolan Ryan’s recruiting efforts have paid off.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers are finalizing an agreement with Lance Berkman. It’s expected to be a one-year deal with a possible vesting option. No word yet on the money involved.
Berkman was limited to just 32 games with the Cardinals last season due to knee and calf injuries, but he’s holding off on retirement for at least one more year. He also drew interest from his hometown Astros this winter, but he’ll obviously be in a better position to win with Texas.
While Berkman has previously referred to the American League-style of play as “Mickey Mouse,” he’ll likely serve as the Rangers’ primary designated hitter in 2013. The veteran slugger turns 37 in February and owns a .296/.409/.544 batting line over 14 seasons in the majors.
Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston
David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.
Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.
In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.
Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”
Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.
The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:
“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”
As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.
It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.