Should You Trade Lance Berkman?

May 1, 2011

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Lance Berkman was hitting .214 on April 10th. He had yet to hit a home run and had just one RBI. He had an OPS of .576. If you dropped him from your team, you are kicking yourself right now, but the move was understandable.
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In his 16 games since Berkman has hit .474 with eight home runs and 21 RBI, bringing his average up to .393 and his OPS to 1.207. You’d be nuts to consider trading  him…or would you?
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He’s not going to continue to pound the ball like that all year. He’s a lifetime .297 hitter that has topped .320 just once. He hit .248 last year and .274 the year before. The power will still be there, but it will also slow. He hasn’t had a 1.000+ OPS since 2006, but he regularly produces a .900 or better OPS. It’s quite evident that last year was just a down year, and not the start of a major decline.
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The point is, while I expect him to continue to be productive, his value will likely never be higher. I’m not saying just give him away, but if you can get a king’s ransom for him, go for it.
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He has dealt with back issues in the past, which can return at any time. Once the back goes, the power is soon to follow. While players have been able to turn back the time and extend their careers, it should not be overlooked that Lance is 35. As the season wears on he will get some rest. He has already sat three of the Cardinals’ 21 games, which is good for 11 percent. If you extrapolate that over the course of the year, he would miss 18 games.
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Sure, he can do plenty of damage in 144 games, but if you can improve your teams based on his hot start, I would certainly entertain quality offers. I’d also dangle him to teams struggling in the power department. Selling high on a 35-year-old isn’t the worst thing you can do.
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