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  1. 4 WAR for Berkman? Can’t say I agree, he’s projected at 3.6 in 2010, given he’s a TTO hitter about to turn 34. that sounds about right. I doubt he gets more than 3 year / $40MM after 2010, too.

    That being said, I’m pulling for him to keep mashing. I can see him finishing his career in the mid 50’s to lower 60’s in marginal wins, which is basically the epitome of borderline Hall of Famer (and the BBWAA / VC has historically been generous to borderline HoF 1B’s, ask Perez and Cepeda).

    He’ll probably finish with 400-440 HR, which would get him close to the top 40 all time. Good enough? I hope so, he’s been a favorite of mine.

    Comment by Joe R — March 1, 2010 @ 11:08 am

  2. Even if you are optimistic and assume that he is worth 4WAR this year, and given a 1/2 win/year decline phase, he is probably only worth 11 wins over the next 4 years. At 3.5M/win, this suggests fair market value is more like 4 years/$40M – not 4/50 or more.

    Comment by Ken — March 1, 2010 @ 11:21 am

  3. I still have a hard time believing that he’s 34-years-old. I feel old now.

    Comment by Chris — March 1, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  4. Also, I’d be stunned if he’s not traded at the deadline; I figure he’d waive his NTC to move to a contender (and increase his exposure / help his market value)

    Comment by Joe R — March 1, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  5. I generally agree with the above posts in that he’s probably worth in the range of 3 years/$32M or maybe 4/40. That said it doesn’t really matter what he is worth. I have a better chance to win the lottery than Berkman has of becoming a FA after this year.

    Comment by the other Brent — March 1, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  6. My best guess is that the Astros wait to see how well he plays, and if his performance is good enough, they will either pick up his option or sign him to a multi-year contract which allows them avoid a $15 million annual amount in 2011. I think the Astros might think about trading him at the deadline if it looks like his performance might be falling off a cliff, but at that point the trading return will likely be poor. McLane has indicated his preference to have Berkman end his career as an Astros player, like Biggio and Bagwell. By the way, the buy out for 2011 is $2 million, so the effective cost of the option is $13 million. Berkman’s quote was based on his view that the Astros might forego the option if his performance were to decline below expectations in 2010. Therefore, the context of the quote was Berkman’s statement that he would be playing for his option in 2011.

    Comment by CJ — March 1, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  7. I just crunched the #’s. Given a current state of $3.5MM / win, and approximating a 5% salary inflation rate going forward, and a .5 WAR/year decline from a 3.6 projection in 2010, I think a fair 4 year contract would be a $6.6MM signing bonus and $7,417,000 / year salary.

    Since no one would get him for that, a 2 year contract might make more sense.

    $3.99MM signing bonus, $8.58MM for 2 years.

    Essentially, he’ll be a tough sign.

    Comment by Joe R — March 1, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

  8. You cannot ASSUME a 1/2 win decline per year…its an average decline for all players, not a guarantee. For every guy that hits a slow plateau and decline there is a guy like Geoff Jenkins who basically falls off the face of the earth in his early 30s.

    So, there’s a decent shot of Berkman (an elite hitter) having a nice gradual decline along the lines of someone like Mike Schmidt.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to go beyond 3 years guaranteed with maybe a vesting option with him though. That said, he probably gets that 4th year guaranteed by someone.

    Comment by NEPP — March 1, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

  9. Couldn’t the glut of aging, veteran 1B that will be flooding the market next year bring his value down? Dunn, Lee, LaRoche, Pena, Konerko, & Berkman (V-Mart could be added too since he’s being considered a 1B long term as well) could all be available after this year. Then add in that Fielder, Pujols, A-Gone, and Howard could all be available after ’11, and it seems that the 1B market will be a buyers market after ’10 with some teams possibly holding back for ’11. Especially bad for the 1B is that the Yankees will have no need for a 1B.

    Comment by cmonkey — March 1, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

  10. Even if we say he ages gracefully (3.5 WAR / season), I’m hard pressed to give him any more than $13MM / year.

    Comment by Joe R — March 1, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

  11. i have no hard proof to back this up or anything, but i always thought that elite switch hitters tended to age well, barring a catastrophic injury or something.

    Comment by steve — March 1, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

  12. “Berkman is probably better than anyone that hit the market this winter”

    I don’t know if I’d rate him above Derek Lee, its real close

    Comment by Rob — March 1, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  13. If you’re not an Astros fan, you probably don’t understand just how unlikely it is that his option will be declined or he will be traded. Astros owner Drayton McLane loves the guy and considers him a franchise player. He wants Berkman to retire an Astro so his uniform can hang alongside Bagwell’s and Biggio’s. So–don’t expect that option to be declined. It won’t be. And don’t expect a trade–he won’t be.

    By the way, one thing that bodes very well for Berkman as he ages is that he is one of the most patient, disciplined hitters in baseball. Whether you’re mashing a bunch of homeruns or not, .400 OBP is good offense.

    Comment by OremLK — March 1, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  14. It depends on which Derrek Lee you consider to be the real one…the guy that posted 3 seasons of relative decline from 2006-2008 (with an OPS+ of 118 overall) or the guy that broke out with a 145 OPS+ last year.

    Comment by NEPP — March 2, 2010 @ 9:21 am

  15. Did someone really call Lance Berkman a TTO hitter? People who contend for batting titles in some years and show excellent contact skill their whole career are not exactly TTO hitters.

    Comment by Alireza — March 7, 2010 @ 1:22 am

  16. Isn’t Drayton looking to sell the team, though?

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 7, 2010 @ 1:53 am

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