With the way some talk about Lance Berkman, one would think the switch hitting outfielder/first baseman is in his early 40’s. While the 14 year veteran had contemplated retirement this winter, he has decided to return for his age 37 season. Berkman agreed to a one year deal with a vesting option for an additional year for $10 million with the Texas Rangers. The switch hitter will likely be the primary designated hitter for a club that has lost Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, traded Michael Young, and lost out on Zack Greinke. The Rangers are gambling on the veteran returning to health and being able to transition into a DH role.
It may be because he had that terrible, injury plagued 2010 season when he hit just .248/.368/.413 in 122 games with the Astros and Yankees. It may be because he played just 32 games last season because of a left calf injury and a torn meniscus in his right knee. Those two seasons may be hiding the fact that Berkman has been one of the best hitters over the past decade. Even including the two injury riddled seasons, Berkman has averaged 138 games player per season with a slash line of .296/.411/.546 along with 32 doubles, 28 home runs, and 93 RBI. Those two injury-plagued seasons aside, Berkman has hit at least 21 home runs, has posted an on base percentage of at least .381 and has slugged at least .514 in every full season of his career.