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Did Yankees Make Bad Decision On Berkman?

The New York Yankees regular designated hitter this season, Jorge Posada, is batting just .147 so far in 2011. Lance Berkman enters today batting .374 for the St. Louis Cardinals. Berkman was a member of the Yankees late last season but the team declined his $15 million option for this season.

Was it a bad decision?

At the time, it had appeared as though the Yankees made the smart choice. Berkman was a 34 year old player that had the worst season of his career last year. Paying $15 million for an out-of-shape role player would have been absurd.

In the offseason, Berkman got himself in shape and it’s been paying off in a big way. Sure, it’s only May but if the season ended today, Berkman would be in the National League MVP discussion. The veteran who is playing the outfield for St. Louis is among the league leaders in batting average as well as home runs (10) and runs batted in (32).

The Yankees went ahead with the plan to use Posada as their regular designated hitter and were hopeful uber prospect Jesus Montero would win a roster spot. The plan was for Montero to be the backup catcher and occasional DH. When the youngster did not earn a roster spot in the spring, Posada was left as the teams only DH, unless you count the currently injured Eric Chavez.

With Posada struggling to hit and Chavez on the disables list with a broken foot, the Yankees do not have a DH producing very much.

The Yankees were trying to get younger while still keeping production in the lineup. Taking on Berkman’s $15 million option would have been a bad decision at the time. Now however, it looks like the bad decision may have been to not re-sign Berkman and use his as a backup at first base, outfield, and at designated hitter. With that said, I can’t fault Yankees GM Brian Cashman on this one, no matter how bad it looks.

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