Lance Berkman the prodical son returns to Texas after signing a one year/$10M deal with the Rangers. The deal includes a vesting option for the 2014 season that kicks in at 550 plate appearances as well as a $1M buyout. Berkman gives Texas a designated hitter after Michael Young was dealt to the Phillies. Berkman because of his knees, should see VERY limited time at first base, if any.
Berkman made just 97 plate appearances last season as he battled a recurring knee issue that required two surgeries. He was going to retire, but the promise on another lucrative contract was enough to entice him back into playing in 2013. In 2011, he was fantastic, hitting .301/.412/.547 in 587 plate appearances for the Cardinals. A return to the American League could help the 36 year old slugger stay healthy as he can play DH regularly.
The addition of Berkman helps replace the offense the Rangers have lost this off-season. Josh Hamilton left Texas for the rival Angels earlier this winter and Mike Napoli appears Boston bound, though contract negotiations have stalled as a result of medical issues.
I think the addition now of catcher A.J. Pierzynski, a full season of top prospects, Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar and now Berkman almost, if not, make up for the offense lost with Hamilton, Napoli, and Young. Of course I still think the Rangers make a move, possibly including Olt in a deal for another bat before spring training or in July before the trade deadline.