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MODEST PROPOSAL
April 04, 2011
Signing Lance Berkman would have been a great move for any number of teams able to play the veteran on-base machine at first base or DH. But Berkman, 35, hasn't played the outfield since 2007. The Cardinals' plan to play Berkman in rightfield was always optimistic, and his spring training—nagging injuries largely confined him to DH and pinch hitting—illustrated the problems with that plan. It's not clear that playing Berkman, who will be a poor outfielder at best, is a better idea than letting Allen Craig have the job. Originally a corner infielder, Craig, 26, has played the outfield corners in Triple A and for St. Louis the past two seasons. While he's also a shaky defender, Craig has health, youth and more recent experience playing rightfield than Berkman. He also has a bat: .321/.380/.548 in two Triple A seasons. Craig did not thrive in a bench role last year, but in 27 starts he batted .269/.317/.473, and he closed the year hitting .382/.400/.647 in September and October. If he can come close to matching Berkman's production, his ability to play right while staying healthy should give him the edge to start.
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April 04, 2011

Modest Proposal

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Signing Lance Berkman would have been a great move for any number of teams able to play the veteran on-base machine at first base or DH. But Berkman, 35, hasn't played the outfield since 2007. The Cardinals' plan to play Berkman in rightfield was always optimistic, and his spring training—nagging injuries largely confined him to DH and pinch hitting—illustrated the problems with that plan. It's not clear that playing Berkman, who will be a poor outfielder at best, is a better idea than letting Allen Craig have the job. Originally a corner infielder, Craig, 26, has played the outfield corners in Triple A and for St. Louis the past two seasons. While he's also a shaky defender, Craig has health, youth and more recent experience playing rightfield than Berkman. He also has a bat: .321/.380/.548 in two Triple A seasons. Craig did not thrive in a bench role last year, but in 27 starts he batted .269/.317/.473, and he closed the year hitting .382/.400/.647 in September and October. If he can come close to matching Berkman's production, his ability to play right while staying healthy should give him the edge to start.

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