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Lance Berkman Signs with the Rangers

Lance Berkman will not hang up his spikes just yet. The veteran switch hitter has found a new home with the Rangers.

Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Lance Berkman is heading back to Texas after signing a one year/$10M deal with the Rangers, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal. 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 and extra first base depth after the loss of free agent Mike Napoli and the trade that sent Michael Young to Philadelphia.

Berkman made just 97 plate appearances last season as he battled a recurring knee issue that required two surgeries. He was leaning towards retirement by the end of the difficult 2012 season, but the promise on another lucrative contract was enough to entice him back into the free agent market. In 2011, he was fantastic, hitting .301/.412/.547 in 587 plate appearances for the World Series Champion Cardinals. A return to the American League could help the 36 year old slugger stay healthy as he can slip into the DH slot regularly.

The addition of Berkman helps replace the offense the Rangers have lost this off-season. Slugger Josh Hamilton left Texas for the rival Los Angeles Angels earlier this off-season and Mike Napoli appears Boston bound, though contract negotiations have stalled as a result of medical issues. Texas also traded away last season’s primary first basemen, Michael Young, for prospects after a disappointing season.

Given his age and his knee issues, Berkman figures to spend most of his time as the designated hitter, but he give Texas a backup option at first as well should Mitch Moreland or Mike Olt falter or fall to injury.

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