The St. Louis Cardinals announced Thursday that the club has agreed to terms with outfielder/first baseman Lance Berkman on a one-year contract for the 2012 season. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team, but media sources report the deal is for $12 million. Earlier, Berkman made it clear that he wanted a straight dollar deal with no incentives.
Berkman, 35, has been a standout for the Cardinals this season, ranking among National League leaders in home runs (31), slugging pct. (.555), on-base pct. (.412) and batting average (.300), while playing a solid outfield. Named an All-Star starter this year (his 6th selection), Berkman is batting .355 with runners in scoring position (ranking 2nd in the N.L.) and .394 during the Cardinals’ September charge.
“Lance proved to be everything we were looking for when we signed him last December,” stated Sr. Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. “He’s an impact player who helped solidify our everyday lineup while also bringing a wealth of experience to our team. We are excited to announce that he is going to remain a part of our team in 2012.”
The switch-hitting Berkman owns a career batting mark of .296 with 358 home runs and 1190 RBI in 1,767 games. His career .409 on-base percentage is ranked 4th among active players and his .546 slugging mark is ranked 10th. Berkman has placed among the N.L. top-10 in on-base pct. eight times and has finished among the league’s top-10 in batting on four occasions. Berkman’s 358 career homers are 4th all-time among switch-hitters.
The six-time All-Star (2001-02, 2004, 2006, 2008 & 2011) holds the National League record for single-season RBI by a switch-hitter with 136 in 2006. He’s had six seasons with 100 or more RBI and belted 25 or more home runs nine times, including a career best 45 in 2006. His 31 home runs this season are just four shy of Rip Collins’ single-season (1934) club record of 35 by a switch-hitter.
Having Berkman under contract for next season offers leverage and insurance for the Cardinals in their negotiations with free agent-to-be first baseman Albert Pujols. If Pujols does not return for 2012, Berkman and Allen Craig could cover first base and right field between them.
VIDEO FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM
Right fielder Lance Berkman explains why he's excited to be staying in St. Louis for the 2012 season.
Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. discusses signing Lance Berkman, Albert Pujols' future and more.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
© 2011 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.