More Berkman analysis:
Apparently Lance gets 10.5 million this year, and 14.5 million for the next 5 years. This all adds up to a total of 83 million. So, a 6 year / 83 million dollar deal. Here's how it compares to a few other contracts AT THE TIME they were given:
Player Ages Years Cost Position Injury (last 3 OPS+'s) RangeFactor
Lance 29-34 6 83 RF Knee 152,137,161 1.74
Vladi 28-32 5 70 RF Back 133,162,144 2.03
Mags 31-37 7 100 RF Knee 135,152,142 2.10
So I stand by my statement yesterday - this signing is somewhere in-between the incredible value that was Vladi's contract and the abomination that was Mags's deal. A few things to note: Lance has been slightly better offensively than both Vladi and Mags, but his defense is noticeably worse, which is why I think it's likely he'll eventually move to 1B. This move will make him less valuable, as a 1000 OPS is rarer for a RF than it is for a 1B. However, there aren't any comparable OF's to Berkman that will be free agents in '06, and he's a popular player. I said at the beginning of the offseason that my main recommendation for the organization was to sign Berkman and Oswalt to long-term deals. Well, they got 6 year and 3 year deals, respectively. I've got nothing to complain about today - we have our two best players locked up for a few years.
Luke Scott hit his 3rd HR of the spring last year in a 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays, and Morgan Ensberg drew three walks. A few of our #5 hopefuls pitched poorly:
Carlos Hernandez: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB/ 1 K - Like he has all spring, Carlos walked more than he struck out, and he's been very hittable. At this point, he's just not a big-league pitcher.
Tim Redding: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB / 1 K - According to a report I read yesterday, there were numerous scouts from other teams in attendance, and our announcers were saying that a trade is basically a lock. This means that once Redding is gone (unfortunately, I have to say good riddance), it looks like the #5 job is down to Brandon Duckworth and Ezequiel Astacio. Count me in the Duckworth corner - with our bullpen looking pretty rough these days, Astacio could help out there, and getting a young pitching prospect experience out of the bullpen before just throwing him in to a starting job has worked wonders in the past (Roy Oswalt?), and not just for the Astros. It's a big step from AA to #5 starter, which is what Astacio would be doing. I think we should ease him in to his eventual role.
My last concern this spring is that Biggio is still starting just about every game at 2nd base. I'm pretty angry about this. If Biggio starts the season at 2nd, that means our OF will be some combination of Lane / Taveras / Scott / Palmeiro, and while Scott and Taveras have had good springs, BURKE IS OUR BEST PROSPECT!! HE PUT UP AN 893 OPS IN A PITCHER'S PARK LAST YEAR!! HE'S ALREADY 25; IT'S TIME TO LET HIM PLAY!! Yeah, Biggio, I'm sure you would rather play 2nd, but too bad. Get thee back to left field.
I'd then set up our 25-man roster like-a so: (starters come first)
OF: Biggio / Lane / Scott / Palmeiro / Taveras (Taveras or Scott to AAA when Lance returns)
IF: Ensberg / Everett / Burke / Bagwell / Lamb / Vizcaino / Bruntlett
C: Ausmus / Chavez
SP: Oswalt / Clemens / Backe / Pettitte / Duckworth / Astacio
RP: Lidge / Qualls / Wheeler / Harville / Franco / Springer
That's a pretty powerless backup IF after Lamb, and that back of the bullpen is AWFUL. Just AWFUL. Probably my biggest disappointment this offseason, even more than losing Beltran, was Purpura's absolute failure to sign any decent, proven reliever (Chris Hammond, Steve Reed, Jeff Nelson, Antonio Osuna, etc.), and instead sign Turk Wendell, John Franco, and Dave Burba (combined age: 119). Last I heard, the Tigers were still looking to move Ugueth Urbina; think they'd be interested in Tim Redding or Luke Scott or...anyone? At this point, our bullpen is a catastrophe waiting to happen. If Urbina would consent to being the 8th inning guy (which is what he'd be with the Tigers anyway), that would be a godsend to our bullpen, allowing everyone to drop down in the depth chart, and giving either Franco or Springer the big ol' boot.