Lance Berkman Traded To Yankees On Day Before Trade Deadline

The day before the trade deadline, the Yankees have moved quickly to pick up veteran slugger Lance Berkman from the Astros.

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6 Total Updates since July 30, 2010
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Lance Berkman Previously Declined Trade To White Sox

An interesting bit of knowledge from Bob Nightengale:

Curiously, Lance Berkman had recently exercised his no-trade rights for possible deal with White Sox before accepting Yankees' trade.

No confirmation, and no word on why Berkman might have made the decision he did, but that doesn't mean we can't speculate wildly. Perhaps he doesn't think the White Sox are very good! Perhaps he doesn't like Chicago! Perhaps he doesn't want to play for Ozzie Guillen! Perhaps he is terrified of Alexei Ramirez! The world may never know. What the world does know is that Lance Berkman is a New York Yankee. And that's just a treat.

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Yankees Paying $3.5m, Mark Melancon, Jimmy Paredes For Lance Berkman

And now, via Joel Sherman, we've got all the necessary details we need to put this Yankees/Astros Lance Berkman trade in order. Hit it, Joel:

Have heard #Astros are paying $4 million of the $7.5 million Berkman is owed between 2010 salary and buyout

Heard #Yankees are sending T-A reliever Mark Melancon and Low-A infielder Jimmy Paredes to #Astros for Berkman

So the Astros pay the narrow majority of the money left that's due Berkman. More important for them here, though, are the players. Melancon is a 25 year old righty reliever with a fastball in the low- to mid-90s, a curve, and a change. He's previously posted good numbers and had a big year in AAA in 2009, but he's taken a step back this season, and there are questions of whether he can translate his success into the Majors. Paredes is a quick, athletic 21 year old middle infielder. With A-ball Charleston, he's batted .282/.312/.408 with 18 walks and 82 strikeouts. Like Melancon, there's obvious ability, but like Melancon, Paredes is a fringe prospect on his best days. Safe to say the Astros didn't really get much of anything here, other than $3.5m of salary relief.

They will have an excellent chance of bringing Berkman back in the offseason as a free agent. Berkman has spent his entire career with the Astros after being born in Waco and going to school at Rice.

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Astros Actually Picking Up Much Of Lance Berkman's Check After All

Perhaps I was too hasty in assuming that Ken Davidoff's tweet meant that the Yankees would be paying Lance Berkman's salary. Buster Olney chimes in:

Heard this: The Astros are picking up a lot of the money owed to Lance Berkman in their agreement with the Yankees, and the NYY won't be giving up any major prospects.

So, to review:

-the Astros wanted to trade Lance Berkman
-the Yankees wanted to trade for Lance Berkman
-the Yankees traded for Lance Berkman
-the Astros will pay for most of Lance Berkman
-the Yankees will surrender little talent for Lance Berkman

I'm not gonna lie to you - I don't really get it, from Houston's perspective. But then, I suppose we can't evaluate this move until we actually know the names of the prospects themselves. There could be something interesting in there.

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Yankees Will Cover Lance Berkman's Cost, Lose Little

So the big remaining question in the Lance Berkman deal is what the Astros will be getting in return from New York. Ken Davidoff has an idea:

#Astros indeed expected to get non-prospect minor-leaguer(s) and payroll relief from #Yankees in return for Berkman.

Berkman is due several million dollars over the rest of the season and has a $2m buyout for his 2011 option, so it would appear that the Yankees are covering his cost. As such, what the Astros are getting is salary relief and some as-yet unnamed minor leaguers of little standing. As an Astros fan, it would be hard to get real excited about this deal. Salary dumps are never a thrill.

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Lance Berkman Trade To Yankees Should Become Official Saturday

Seems like this all happened pretty quick. Ken Rosenthal gives us an update on the state of the Berkman situation:

A twist on Berkman: Due to his 10-5 rts, trade to #Yankees would not be official until after expiration of 24-hr window...Source says he gave approval earlier today, so everything should be OK. But official word would not be until Sat. aft. He can rescind at any point during 24-hour window, but source doubts that will happen. Announcement likely tmrrow aft.

Lance Berkman has pretty much every reason to accept this trade - he hasn't been to the playoffs since 2005, and he'd be joining baseball's best team for about three months before going back on the market, at which point he could re-sign with the Astros if his heart desires. So the Yankees, for all intents and purposes, have found their new designated hitter.

What remains to be seen is what the Yankees will give up in return. Sans Berkman and Roy Oswalt, the Astros will be a very different team to watch.

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Report: Lance Berkman Traded To Yankees On Day Before Trade Deadline

Less than 24 hours before Saturday's trade deadline, Jim Bowden of Fox Sports tweeted that the Houston Astros have dealt Lance Berkman to the New York Yankees.

Yankees get Berkman...will Tampa Bay Rays respond by trading for Dunn

Ken Rosenthal has not yet reported that this is a done deal, but acknowledges that an official announcement is likely, and tweets that the Yankees are strictly thinking short-term here:

#Yankees indeed moving quickly on Berkman, as others report. Team will NOT pick up 15M option as condition of deal; strictly a rental.

It has not yet been reported what the Astros will get in return. Stay tuned to this StoryStream for updates.

Earlier on Friday afternoon, the Houston Chronicle caught wind of the Yankees' interest in Berkman, and shed some light on Berkman's reciprocation of interest:

Berkman's close relationship with Andy Pettitte could end up being a huge factor in his decision to approve a deal.

Berkman called the prospect of joining the World Series champion Yankees "an intriguing possibility."

This move, if indeed it has happened, comes on the heels of the Astros trading away Roy Oswalt, another of their franchise's cornerstones. Berkman has spent his entire 12-year career in Houston, during which he established his status as one of the best hitters in the game. This year, Berkman is having his least impressive season to date, but his .808 OPS could still help the Yankees in a big way.

Berkman would figure to make most of his plate appearances in New York as a designated hitter, a spot that's been occupied as of late by catcher Jorge Posada.

This certainly lends more intrigue to this year's A.L. East race, and as Bowden noted, it will be interesting to see whether the rival Rays respond by making another push to acquire Nationals slugger Adam Dunn.

For more, check out our Yankees blog, Pinstripe Alley, and our Astros blog, The Crawfish Boxes.

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