Lance Berkman: “No matter what people say, it’s always about the money”

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Gee, he ought to start a website with that name. Oops! Too late!

The Cardinals are obviously trying to settle as much family business as they can before the season ends and all efforts will have to be put into the Albert Pujols negotiations.  One bit of family business they’d like settled is the matter of Lance Berkman in 2012.  He has said he wants to be back. The Cardinals certainly want him back.  But according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it hasn’t been smooth sailing thus far, with there existing “a difference of opinion over its worth.”

Or, as Berkman puts it:

“It’s always about money,” Berkman said. “No matter what people say, it’s always about the money.”

Berkman took what was, essentially, a make-good deal this year, dropping from his $14.5 million in 2010 to an $8 million deal. No, that’s not chicken feed and it actually strains the definition of “make-good contract,” but the fact was that he took some risk.  If he had flopped in 2011, he’d have nothing to look forward to but one-year deals at around a million per, with the Reggie Sanders career path being his best case scenario.

But he made good. Both with the bat and in terms of his conditioning and defensive flexibility. He gave the Cardinals the most anyone could have expected from an age-35 Lance Berkman, and now he’d like to be paid like a dude who hit .296/.407/.550.  I can’t say I blame him.

Not that Berkman is being unreasonable. According to the report, he simply wants a one-year deal without performance incentives and stuff.  If I’m the Cardinals, I balk at him wanting, like, three years or something at this age. And it’s not like I’m going to pay him $15 million no matter the duration.  But if he simply wants a one-year deal at the market rate for an excellent corner outfielder/first baseman approaching his latter years, I’m not sure why I wouldn’t give it to him. Because someone else certainly will.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.