Between the Albert Pujols fiasco and Jim Edmonds's incredibly depressing comeback-and-uncomeback it's been surprisingly easy to forget that Lance Berkman, one of the MV3 St. Louis Cardinals' most dastardly nemeses, was also reporting to Jupiter, Florida on Friday. The Post-Dispatch has an article and an extremely incongruous photo for evidence.â†µ
Berkman is already a hit in the clubhouse—in this article he's described by Trever Miller as a source of "healing" and "bonding" humor, and later challenges everybody in the clubhouse to a race, to prove he's taken his vows as the Cardinals' new outfielder seriously. But for all the Pujols talk now, Berkman's performance in 2011 could be one of the biggest determiners of the team's actual performance this year. If he can play in the outfield and bounces back from an indifferent 2010 the Cardinals will have a terrifying middle of the order. He's one year removed, after all, from a year in which he was more or less Matt Holliday.
If he can't do one of those things, they'll have either a great pinch-hitter, some trade bait with awful leverage, or Allen Craig and Jon Jay starting in the outfield, which was the plan in the first place.â†µ