Free agency could be reality for Berkman
Considering the struggles he’s had at the plate this season, Astros slugger Lance Berkman said Tuesday it wouldn’t surprise him if the club decided not to pick up his option for 2011 and allowed him to become a free agent.
Berkman, who entered Tuesday hitting .250 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs, stands to make $15 million next season if the Astros pick up the option. If they decide to not pick it up, they’ll pay him a $2 million buyout.
“I don’t get any indication they are going to pick it up,” Berkman said. “I think the chances are that I probably will be a free agent at the end of the year. It’s not concerning, but it’s certainly a position I’ve never been in before in my career.”
Astros general manager Ed Wade said he has informed Berkman’s agent, Mike Moye, no decision on Berkman’s option would be made until the off-season. Berkman would like to remain in Houston and hopes the club will chalk up his struggles to missing most of Spring Training and the first two weeks of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery.
“There were some extenuating circumstances where they may feel like I’m not a declining player, but just some circumstances that have kept me from performing the way I’m used to performing,” Berkman said. “It’s all in their court. That’s the power of a team option.
“They can make that determination. They haven’t given me any indication one way or another what they were thinking as far picking it up or not picking it up, but if I’m just sitting here looking at what I’m seeing and knowing the kind of year I’ve had, I would say they probably won’t pick it up, but I don’t know that for sure.”