Could Lance Berkman Be a Giant by Thursday?

Manny Randhawa@@MannyBal9Correspondent IIIAugust 30, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 20:  Lance Berkman #12 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a single and drives in a run against the New York Mets during their game on July 20, 2011 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Lance Berkman has reportedly cleared waivers and can now be traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to any other MLB team prior to the deadline for traded players to participate in the postseason, which is midnight Wednesday.

Berkman is currently hitting .289 with 30 home runs and 81 RBI, having a fantastic comeback season following a difficult 2010 campaign split between New York and Houston.

The San Francisco Giants are one of a handful of teams who could really use the veteran slugger.

The defending world champions rank last in the NL with a .237 team batting average, and dead-last in all of baseball in runs scored (454).

Berkman, who is earning $8 million for this season, is a free agent come this winter, and could be another rental for the Giants, joining the Carlos Beltran club.

San Francisco may have stiff competition from the Texas Rangers, however, who were reportedly interested in Berkman last offseason before the Cardinals signed him.

The Cardinals may very well demand some good prospects from San Francisco, which, although Giants General Manager Brian Sabean spent most of the first half defending a position of non-negotiation on young talent, may be a possibility given the organization's sudden shift in trade philosophy.

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The Giants went all in by acquiring Carlos Beltran just before the July trading deadline, but that seems like eons ago, when San Francisco had a comfortable lead in the NL West.

Now that the defending champions are a season-high five games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, it remains to be seen whether Brian Sabean still has an itchy trigger finger for a big late August trade.