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.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?