Albert Pujols has had a stranglehold on the first base position in St. Louis for almost a decade so it will be nice to see some healthy competition at the position going into 2011. Pujols is certainly the favorite to win the starting gig but I sure wouldn’t count Berkman out and Tony La Russa has said he won’t either. Let’s be honest; we’ve all seen La Russa do much crazier.
The serious post starts here.
When I heard the news Lance Berkman was coming back to the NL, and Central no less, I pictured a montage of Berkman boarding an airplane with a bag over his shoulder and the Ozzy song ‘Mama I’m Coming Home’ blaring. I can only imagine this is what actually happened. I’m excited to see Berkman back in the Astros’ division. I realize I’m talking as though he’s been gone much longer than just since this past July but still. If he has to play for another team, at least the Astros and their fans will get to see him many times this season.
Berkman will most likely play left field with the Cardinals sliding Matt Holliday over to right. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Berkman sit a game or two a week due to TLR’s inexplicable love for guys like John Jay. Just ask So Taguchi, Joe Mather, and John Mabry*. In fairness, Berkman is not the defender he once was but if his bat can bounce back from last year he’s more than capable of playing good enough defense in left field.
The Cardinals were busy last week adding a middle infielder who can kind of hit and steal some bases in Ryan Theriot (my apologies to the families of Brendan Ryan and Skip Schumaker). They also added a reliable left-handed reliever in Brian Tallet, and now have another big hitter for the middle of their order. The Cardinals lineup now has four offensive players; Pujols, Berkman, Holliday, and Rasmus, 2 defensive players; Brendan Ryan and Yadier Molina, and anyone’s guess at 2nd and 3rd base.
The Cardinals are trying to keep pace with the Cincinnati Reds who won the division in 2010. Hopefully, the Astros have a couple tricks up their sleeves this winter to join them.
*I think my John Mabry reference should get me some kind of obscurity award.