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Lance Berkman Clears Waivers, Rangers Should Pursue

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At least one impact bat remains on the trade market as we head towards the August 31 waiver trading deadline. St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman has cleared waivers according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Berkman has enjoyed an excellent 2011 campaign, not only staying healthy, but contributing at an exceptionally high level. Berkman, through 383 at bats, has hit .292/.405/.572 with 29 home runs so far. Berkman also has drawn 73 walks and has struck out only 74 times, quite the excellent ratio.

If the Rangers were seriously interested in acquiring Jason Kubel from the Twins, then they should certainly be interested in Berkman. The Cardinals are free to trade him to any team at this point, and since he's going to be a free agent after this season, the price shouldn't be astronomically high. 

Berkman, though, has been somewhat miserable in the outfield for St. Louis this year, with a -5 DRS and -14.6 UZR/150. Berkman, though, is also capable of playing 1B and his lousy defense could be hidden there. 

Still, Berkman would provide an upgrade in Texas' lineup, over Mitch Moreland, Craig Gentry or Endy Chavez. A lineup featuring Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, Adrian Beltre and Berkman would be quite difficult to pitch to down the stretch as the Rangers try to win their second consecutive AL West crown.

There has been nothing linking the Rangers to Berkman though since the winter, when he spurned signing with the Rangers for the Cardinals, saying that he was interested in playing for a winning team. We'll see if the Rangers do knock on the Cardinals' door, they certainly should. 

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.