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May 24, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman (27) argues with home plate umpire Cory Blaser (89) after striking out to the Seattle Mariners during the 1st inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Bucs reportedly reached out to Lance Berkman

May 25, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman (27) throws during batting practice before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to bag their first free agent of the offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates reportedly turned their attention to a man who was formerly one of baseball’s most dominant hitters.

According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pirates reached out to Lance Berkman but were told by his agent that Berkman is leaning toward retirement.

 

That’s probably a blessing for the Bucs in the long run.

For one, Berkman is 37 and on the downside of his career despite having a big 2011 season in St. Louis.

He appeared in only 73 games for the Rangers this season, putting up a .242/.340/.359 slash line after inking a $10 million deal with the Texas Rangers last year, which represented a big drop off from his 2011 campaign.

Berkman was once again slowed by injuries once again this year, ranging from hip inflammation to pain in the same surgically-repaired right knee that cost him the majority of his 2012 season.

It was just two years ago that Berkman put up a slash line of .301/.412/.547 with 31 homers and owns a career line of .293/.406/.537 with 366 home runs.

Needing a first baseman, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington likely looked at Berkman as a potential buy-low guy that could produce high rewards with a bounce-back season.

But given his age and injury history, it likely is a good thing for the Pirates that Berkman may be calling it quits.

They should look to fill the hole at first base elsewhere.

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Tags: Lance Berkman Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors

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