Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman at the All Star Game in Phoenix.
Lance Berkman's first choice this past offseason was to go back to the Astros and finish his career where it started in Houston. As many of you know, he didn't get to go back to Houston because it didn't want him; instead, Berkman signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Many teams and fans, including myself, thought that Berkman's career was over and that he was just going to be a platoon player for the Cardinals. Instead Berkman is an All-Star this season, and he has helped carry the Cardinals, who have been riddled with injuries to Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Adam Wainwright this season.
Berkman has been more than just a leader on the field; he has also been one in the clubhouse. He has played barely a half-season in St. Louis, but he says it feels "like 10 years" because of how he has been embraced.
This season, Berkman already has more home runs, RBI and runs than he did all of last year with the Astros and Yankees combined. Through the first half of the season Puma is batting .288 with 24 home runs, 63 RBI and a .401 OBP and is looking to build on those numbers after the All-Star break.
The Cardinals and Berkman have not discussed any extension past this season, or at least they haven't let any be known publicly. It will be interesting to see what the Cardinals do after the season with Berkman, as they will have the contracts of Pujols, Wainwright and Chris Carpenter to deal with as well.