Lance Berkman will be taking a $2 million paycut after accepting a one-year contract with the Texas Rangers on Saturday. That's one way to put it. The other way to put it is that the Rangers will be paying Berkman $10 million a year after he played just 32 games in his age-36 season and talked a lot about retiring. That's just $2 million less than the Cardinals paid him in 2011, after he hit .301/.412/.547 in his age-35 season.
Unlike former teammate Roy Oswalt, it looks like Berkman really was serious both about considering retirement and only coming out of retirement for a great, well-paying DH job close to home. The Rangers, who've lost out on a few younger, more-expensive free agents, needed a hitter, and Berkman, even in his lost 2012 season, hit .259/.381/.444 over a little more than a month of plate appearances.
Berkman was an incredible delight to watch, listen to, and otherwise be around as a Cardinal, so I'm happy he'll be around baseball another season. But I was expecting something closer to $5 million than $10 million. Oddly enough, this one also includes a vesting option if he plays 550 plate appearances, so he might be back for yet another round in 2014. Here's hoping.