Berkman’s return is a concerning prospect. He threw out the idea of early retirement and taking a settlement on the money owed him for this season. He quickly recanted when the trade deadline passed and he was not replaced outright by a new acquisition. If the front office was able to buy him out of his contract and let him off into the sunset, it would have happened already. There’s also a consideration to be made in regards to Jurickson Profar. He is a component of the rotating system and, as long as he’s up, he will get more playing time as a result.
There is little they can do to remove him from the equation now, so what are the options left for 2013?
He’s at 282 plate appearances, which means he has 268 plate appearances left before he hits 550 and has his option vest for next season; he will not be back in 2014. If he expects to come back in 2013, I’d like to think the Rangers will wait until late August to even consider him ready for action, even as a DH. That being said, if speedy base running is going to be the Rangers offensive mode of operation, he will be something of a built in speed trap. Some have cited his patience and ability to get on base, but at this point, is there any incentive to have a run left on base because he couldn’t get over another base or two on a single from another hitter?
There is big risk and small reward in considering testing his ailing hip and knee, even more so when you consider Berkman himself has said he will deal with discomfort in order to help. I’ll leave the “dealing with discomfort” to Adrian Beltre, thank you very much.