The Texas Rangers have declined their $12 million club option for the 2014 season on veteran switch-hitter Lance Berkman, reports MLB.com. In lieu of the eight-figure salary, Texas has bought him out for $1 million.
The decision to cut ties with the Berkman should come as no surprise to Rangers fans. Signed to a one-year, $11 million deal last winter to take over at designated hitter, Big Puma struggled to stay on the field all season. The former all-star slugger played in only 73 games for the Rangers, missing all but five games in the second half of the year because of hip and knee problems.
The 37-year-old didn't add much value to the club even when he was healthy, hitting just .242/.340/.359 with six home runs in 294 plate appearances.
His constant battle to get back on the field and his woes at the plate led to a host of speculation throughout the year that Berkman might waive his contract and head for early retirement. While he eventually opted to stick with Texas through the end of the season, retirement may now be in the offing.
For all his struggles the last couple seasons, Berkman remains one of the best switch-hitters in baseball history. He is a career .293/.406/.537 hitter with 366 home runs in 15 big-league seasons, and his 51.8 WAR is 12th-best all-time among switch-hitters.