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Blog Entry

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

Posted on: January 28, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm
 

BerkmanLance Berkman took to the airwaves Thursday, speaking on 1560 AM in Houston to explain why he chose the Cardinals over the Rangers when inking a contract. The 35-year-old opted for a one-year, $8 million pact with St. Louis to play right field as opposed to DHing and playing some outfield and first base for the Rangers.

So, why the Cardinals over the defending American League champions?

"I felt like if they didn't re-sign Cliff Lee that they were going to be an average team and I feel that's probably what's going to end up happening," Berkman said Thursday via ESPN.com. Berkman faced the Rangers in the ALCS as a member of the Yankees after coming over from the Houston Astros, where he had the best years of his career. "It's all about your pitching. I feel like last year was one of those special years where you kind of catch lightning in a bottle and they got hot and they had some guys that I felt like were pitching better than their talent level and consequently they had a great year."

Is Berkman just jealous that the Yankees fell to the Rangers?

 

Texas finished 2010 fifth overall in runs scored with 567 and followed that up with 636 runs allowed (not including unearned runs), good for 10th in all of baseball. That's pretty impressive for a squad known more for hitting than pitching. While Cliff Lee fronted the rotation, the other contributors were C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis, also getting starts from Tommy Hunter, Scott Feldman and Derek Holland among others.

Wilson had a successful conversion to the rotation after spending four years as a full-time reliever. He finished with a 3.35 ERA in 204 innings pitched and while he did pitch over his head according to his 4.20 xFIP, he also showed he's for real and can be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Wilson was backed up by Colby Lewis, a failed MLB starter who went to Japan, discovered how to pitch and returned to his old stomping grounds of Texas to post a 3.72 ERA in 201 innings -- and he looks for real.

It's behind the two pitchers where Texas may scrap. Scott Feldman did go 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA for Texas in 2009, but followed that up with a 5.48 ERA stinker in 22 starts and seven relief appearances. The jury is out on just what Feldman can provide, while Hunter threw together a 3.73 ERA in 22 starts. It's difficult to imagine Hunter as anything more than a No. 4 starter with a 4.50 ERA. But the saving grace could come from Derek Holland, just 24 and who contributed a 4.08 ERA in 10 starts and four relief appearances.

It's definitely a rotation with a lot of questions, but the Rangers have to feel confident going into the season that their offense, supplemented by new third baseman Adrian Beltre and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli can carry the load until the Rangers see how the rotation shakes out.

That doesn't mean to say Berkman is a Rangers hater. He cited that the opportunity to stay in his home state of Texas, playing in a park conducive to offense and knowing Nolan Ryan and bench coach Jake Moore as what drew him to Texas as an option -- until he looked closer.

Meanwhile, Wilson fired back on ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas Friday.

"I think it's funny," Wilson said. "He was contemplating retirement, so I'm not going to take anything too seriously. I'm not going to get offended by anything he says. If that's a representative idea of what people around the league think, that's better for us because they're going to do the same thing and they're going to not take us seriously. If we end up stomping through the playoffs again, everyone will be like, 'Wow, what a bummer.' "

Wilson also addressed comments Berkman made about Adrian Beltre, whom Texas signed to a five-year, $80 million deal that has an option for another $16 million that should be easily exercised.

 

"They were itching to spend some money," Berkman said of acquiring Beltre. "I probably could have gotten the best deal out of them, especially in light of what they gave Adrian Beltre, which I think is pretty much of a reach for him."

Wilson begs to differ -- as he should, as Beltre should steal away some hits and turn them into outs.

 

 "Adrian Beltre is the best defensive third baseman in baseball, and he's a pretty good hitter as well," Wilson said. "I don't know if anyone knows he hit .340 last year, which is definitely better than .220. I'm pretty stoked about having him on my team."

For the record, Beltre hit .321 in what was one of the best seasons of his career, and Berkman hit .248. While Beltre was likely playing over his head, his defense is invaluable and should do well in the home park of the Rangers. Meanwhile, Berkman is struggling to avoid retirement.

"We have a lot of pride on our team," Wilson added. "We're very proud of what we've turned our team into. It's about the players and what we've done on the field. We've gotten better. Now the organization is somewhere and we have direction.

"If someone is going to slam us, that's going to be something. ... You hold little grudges like that. I hope the fans understand and when Lance comes to play at some point in Texas, I hope our fans boo."

The booing will have to wait, as the Cardinals are not slated to visit Texas in 2011.

 

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Comments

Since: Nov 7, 2006
Posted on: January 29, 2011 10:42 am
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

you think?



Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: January 29, 2011 9:13 am
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

Big Fat Berkman shouldn`t run his mouth, just use it to shovel fast food into. If Berkman put on the old Babe Ruth hat former Yankee big man David Wells had he would looked like the Babe at the end of his career...hugely overweight and unable to run or play the OF. The Cards are kidding themselves if they think big Berkman can hold up or make plays as a RF. Berkman`s days as a feared slugger have passed and looking at him now makes you wonder if he didn`t mix in some PED`s to fatten up those #`s. Lance, leave the Ranger$ alone and focus on getting into better shape. 



Since: Jun 6, 2009
Posted on: January 29, 2011 6:23 am
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

Lets see Lance, the past 10 years , the Rangers win the Silver Boot 7 times from you and the ASStros. Then you get bitch slapped in the ALCS as a YANKMEE. I can feel your pain Lance. LOSER!



Since: Jan 10, 2007
Posted on: January 29, 2011 6:03 am
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

Lance has had a great career and can say what he wants to.  The honesty is refreshing in this day and age of ass kissing and pc answers.  And you know what?  I think he's probably right in what he is saying. 

The Rangers lost their stones when Cliff Lee left.  That rotation is a patchwork job.  The only guy who looks solid is Colby Lewis.  Wilson is okay but nothing special. The other guys are doing it with mirrors and will soon have their bubbles bursted. Nobody on the farm is ready to step in and be a major factor.  Scheppers isn't ready yet and Perez regressed last year. 

So it's gonna be same old Rangers- nice offense and no pitching. And Adrian Beltre's career can't hold a candle to Berkman, who in my opinion was putting up Hall of Fame credentials but will probably fall short because his 9 excellent seasons aren't going to be enough, and he's clearly in decline.



Since: Jan 29, 2011
Posted on: January 29, 2011 1:30 am
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

This is news? Jimmy Baio called the Rangers average. ouch...



Since: Apr 29, 2010
Posted on: January 29, 2011 12:07 am
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

@#$% Berkman! He is a washed up bum that has never won anything. He is just jealous he doesnt get to play here with an up- and-coming Rangers squad. Yeah the Rangers might have had interest in him, but not at the outrages money he got from St. Louis. We might have lost Cliff Lee, but we are still a better team than the Cardinals!



Since: Dec 5, 2009
Posted on: January 28, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

Berkman had a down year because of his health, that will not be an issue this season.
That is just plain dumb. How do you know it won't be an issue? That has to be the first time that anyone has stated, as fact, that a fat, mid-30's guy, coming off of debilitating knee problems, is a shoo in to all of a sudden stay healthy. I've got news for you, it's at BEST 50/50 that the guy holds up for a whole season, and, if he does, it's at best 50/50 that he is productive.



Since: Jun 24, 2010
Posted on: January 28, 2011 10:53 pm
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

Great article (first time I have wrote that before).

Berkman makes some valid points: a) some guys may have pitched "better than their talent;" b) the Rangers (especially with Lee in the AL divisional series and Lewis in the AL championship series) may have "captured lightening in a bottle" and c) the Rangers did act like a team with money to spend, so over-spent on Beltre; but Berkman is sounding like a player who has 2010 credentials to command something. His numbers were horrible.......only to be surpassed by this horrendous defense. NY did not want him (the media there would have crushed the Yankees for bringing back his below average play), and who else was known to be pursuing him? He got a great deal with the Cardinals (the same team that far overpaid for Holliday). And having seen how free agents have signed, especially these DH guys who are trying hard to stay on the field, Berkman took the best deal he was offered: which is still a one year deal. I don't think he was offered more from Texas, so he choose getting the chance to embarrass himself in the field.



Since: Oct 10, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 10:35 pm
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

Lance Berkman will be playing for the St. Louis Cardinals..... that alone will add 50 points to his BA. Berkman had a down year because of his health, that will not be an issue this season. Berkman is the bat that the Cards have been needing for their lineup. Look for Berkman to have a comeback year this season which will propel the St. Louis Cardinals to the top of their division....



Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2011 10:26 pm
 

Berkman bashes Rangers as 'average' team

OK. Rangers fan here for rebuttal.. ok not really, but kind of.. and by the way, congrats on baseballs best rotation since the braves in the 90s... You guys should dominate big time with a healthy staff..

ok.. so not to take away from the intangible aspects of Cliff Lee and what he did for the organization as a whole, but he wasn't even the best pitcher on the staff from the time he joined.. he was very good, but not the best.. Just some comparisons:

From July 6th or so..
Cliff Lee 4-6, ERA 3.99, 108 IP, 11 HR against, 96 Ks and only 12 walks.
CJ Wilson 8-4, ERA 3.44, 94IP, 4 HRagainst, 93 Ks and 43 walks.
Colby Lewis 5-8, ERA 4.01 94IP 10 HRa, 95Ks, 27 walks.

That said, of Course we would have loved to have him back.. and who knows what is going to happen with CJ, Colby, and Hunter without the mentoring of Lee... But I think we will still have good staff.. and Neftali becoming a starter could work out in our favor.. Ogando could work out well as a closer... he's got decent stuff.. but just as any team, injuries could and will play a role...


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