Last offseason the Rangers signed Lance Berkman to a one-year, $11 million deal, but he was healthy enough to play just 73 games and hit .240 with a career-worst .700 OPS.
As expected Texas declined his $12 million option for 2014, instead giving Berkman a $1 million buyout and making him a free agent again at age 38.
Despite not hitting much and being hurt a lot for the second straight season Berkman continued to draw tons of walks and get on base at a good clip. He won’t come anywhere close to $11 million this winter, but it won’t be surprising if some contenders view him as a viable DH target.
It’s also possible that he’ll decide to retire after weighing that option last offseason.
The Padres are set to recall top infield prospect Luis Urías from Triple-A El Paso, according to a report from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. It’ll be the second such stint for the club’s no. 2 prospect, and one they hope to extend through the end of the season. A corresponding roster move will be announced later this weekend.
Urías, 22, struggled in his first promotion to the majors this April. Touted as “one of the Minors’ better pure hitters” with “innate bat-to-ball skills” and “plus on-base skills,” he found it difficult to adjust to big league pitching and slashed a lackluster .083/.241/.125 with just two hits and four walks over 11 games with the Padres.
Upon his return to Triple-A, however, the young middle infielder has delivered nothing short of spectacular results, batting .315/.398/.600 with 19 home runs, seven stolen bases (in nine chances), and a .998 OPS across 339 plate appearances. Given the additional measures he’s taken to improve his mechanics — something, Acee says, the Padres are far more interested in than his results at the plate — it seems he may be ready to handle the competition at the highest level on a long-term basis.
Urías is expected to be recalled in time for the Padres’ game against the Cubs on Saturday, where he’ll likely share the middle infield with fellow top prospect Fernando Tatís. The game is set for 2:20 PM EDT.