We still have an entire season of baseball ahead of us, but let’s just say the Astros haven’t ruled out the possibility.
Lance Berkman was in attendance last night at the annual Houston baseball dinner, which celebrated the franchise’s 50th anniversary. Berkman, who was honored at the event, actually had a good line about the recent mini-controversy over a potential name change for the franchise (via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com).
“I want to thank the Houston Lone Stars for this award,” Berkman said. “What? They didn’t approve that? It’s still the Astros?”
New Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow later took the stage and jokingly alluded to the possibility of pursuing “The Big Puma” before the team makes the move to the American League West next season.
“Let him finish out his contract with St. Louis. And when we get over to the American League [in 2013], we’re going to need a DH,” Luhnow joked.
Berkman, who attended Rice University in Houston, was a first-round pick of the Astros in 1997 and spent nearly his first 12 big-league seasons with the team before being traded to the Yankees in July of 2010.
Nothing wrong with a little joking in a casual setting, but Berkman’s return would probably cheer up some fans who are unhappy with being forced to switch leagues. For now, it’s just a fun possibility to ponder.
LOS ANGELES — All-Star pitcher Tony Gonsolin and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed on a two-year, $6.65 million contract that avoided an arbitration hearing.
Gonsolin gets $3.25 million this year and $3.4 million in 2024.
His salary in the second season can escalate by up to $3 million based on a points system in which he will be credited one point for each start, or each relief appearance of 3 1/3 innings: $500,000 apiece for 14, 16, 18, 20, 24 and 28 points. The 2024 salary also would increase by $1,125,000 for winning a Cy Young Award this year, $625,000 for finishing second or third in the voting and $500,000 for finishing fourth or fifth.
The sides exchanged salary proposals on Jan. 13, with Gonsolin seeking a raise from $720,000 last season to $3.4 million this year, while the Dodgers offered $3 million.
The 28-year-old right-hander was 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 24 starts during a breakout season last year. Gonsolin earned his first All-Star selection with an 11-0 record and a 2.02 ERA in the first half. He finished with the highest winning percentage (.941) in franchise history.
Gonsolin has been with the Dodgers for parts of four seasons since being drafted in the ninth round out of Saint Mary’s College in 2016. He is 26-6 with a 2.51 ERA in 59 career games.
He helped the Dodgers win the 2020 World Series during the pandemic-shortened season.