Lance Berkman was said to be leaning toward retirement all offseason and now Richard Justice of MLB.com reports that the 37-year-old switch-hitter has decided to call it a career after 15 seasons in the majors.
Berkman often gets lost in the shuffle when talking about the best hitters of this era, but he was a consistently excellent hitter for a dozen years and finished among the top five in MVP voting four times.
Berkman hit .293 with 366 homers in 1,879 games and also walked nearly as many times (1,201) as he struck (1,300), posting a .406 on-base percentage that ranks fifth among all active players. He made six All-Star teams and his .943 OPS is the second-highest in baseball history among switch-hitters, behind only Mickey Mantle (.977) and right in front of Chipper Jones (.930).
He seems unlikely to get a ton of Hall of Fame support from voters, but Berkman was a Hall of Fame-caliber player who combined big batting averages with huge on-base percentages and monster power. Helluva career. So long, Big Puma.
The Athletics have acquired closer Jeurys Familia from the Mets, per official announcements from the teams. The Mets will receive minor league right-hander Bobby Wahl and third base prospect William Toffey in the deal, as well as $1 million in international slot money.
Familia, 28, has drawn significant interest from as many as seven or eight teams over the last week or so. While the right-hander hasn’t hit any career-best marks this season, he’s more than held his own with a 2.88 ERA, 2.54 FIP and 1.2 fWAR over 40 2/3 innings in 2018. He’s positioned to enter free agency at the end of the year, and the A’s are expected to absorb the remaining $3 million on his contract before he does so.
The Mets, meanwhile, came away with two lower-level players in the trade. The 26-year-old Wahl has just 7 2/3 innings of major league experience under his belt and issued four runs, four walks, and eight strikeouts during his first seven games with the A’s in 2017. He’s been far more productive in Triple-A Nashville this year, racking up 11 saves in 27 chances and pairing that with a ridiculous 2.27 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 14.7 SO/9 through 39 2/3 innings.
MLB Pipeline ranked Toffey no. 17 in the A’s system prior to the start of the 2018 season, noting his above-average defense but casting some doubt on his ability to hit for both average and power in the majors. The 23-year-old corner infielder is still getting his sea legs in High-A Stockton, where he’s batting .244/.357/.384 with five home runs and a .741 OPS in 197 PA.