As far back as the middle of the 2012 season, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow made it clear that he planned to pursue Lance Berkman to be the club’s first ever DH when we make the move from the NL Central to the AL West. This offseason came around and he was pursued but the Astros eventually signed Carlos Pena presumably to share the 1B/DH duties with Brett Wallace. The Berkman era seemed all but closed again, until today when word came out that the Astros are still speaking with him about a return.
Luhnow stated earlier today that he is still in constant contact with Berkman, even speaking with him today about a return to his hometown team and team that drafted him. However, also today, Texas Rangers President, Nolan Ryan, advised that the Rangers had also been in contact with the switch hitter and had submitted an offer to him to play for the Rangers. Berkman has yet to publicly state whether or not he plans to return for a 15th season in the majors, but the Rays, Phillies, Red Sox and Orioles have joined the Astros and Rangers in expressing interest in him.
Berkman did publicly state that if he does indeed return for a 15th season, he wants to be compensated what he’s worth. In other words, he’s not taking a hometown discount to play for the Astros and ride out into the sunset. The fact that the Astros are coming off back-to-back seasons in which they were the worst team in baseball, and all other teams that have shown interest in him are either playoff teams or borderline playoff teams, including the rival Texas Rangers, I think its safe to assume that Berkman will likely be donning another jersey for the 2013 season and not be signing with the Astros.