Lance Berkman is meeting with the Oakland Athletics this week. Berkman is a perfect fit for the A’s who need a slugger for their meager lineup. Berkman also fits into Billy Beane’s love for guys with high OBPs who work counts and take pitches. Oaklands fantastic young pitching staff helped them win 81 games last year despite the aforementioned weak offense and a large amount of injuries. While this would be a great fit for the A’s, I’m not sure the same is true for Berkman.
Although Oakland has brought in David Dejesus, another Beane-type guy, the cast that will be put around Berkman doesn’t appear to be destined for a huge increase in success in 2011. Berkman would be a good hitter, assuming he can bounce back from his lackluster 2010, in the middle of a protection-less and production-challenged offense.
Rajai Davis, the A’s speedster, was sent to Toronto and Oakland’s outfield is now filled by Conor Jackson, David Dejesus, and Ryan Sweeney. Three guys with little pop and even less speed. However, keeping with Oakland philosophy and tradition, they are decent hitters discipline-wise and good defenders. In fact, most of Oaklands position players are atleast average at getting on base. But some aren’t, and none are great with the bat. Cliff Pennington has a long way to go at short (.319 OBP, .687 OPS in 2010), Kouzmanoff has yet to show any promise offensively at Third (.283 OBP in 2010), and prospect Chris Carter has not lived up to expectations.
I’ll always love Fat Elvis for what he gave the Astros and for that reason, I don’t want to see him go to Oakland and become the next Matt Holliday. If I were Berkman, I’m not by the way, I’d be looking at somewhere like Chicago. I can go to the White Sox and DH, where they have a gaping hole and a hitter-friendly park. Or I could go to the Cubs, get a big contract, and play first base now vacated by Derek Lee. Wherever Berkman goes, we’ll all be following him. I just wish him the best while I’ll always wish he was still in an Astros uniform.