The Yankees have been in the thick of trade rumors all summer. Tonight, the Yankees completed their first trade. Earlier this evening, the Yankees and Astros agreed on a trade for first baseman/outfielder, Lance Berkman. Berkman (.245, 13 HRs, 49 RBIs) has dealt with a plethora of injuries this year. Berkman has made three trips to the disabled list, but has played well over the last week. Berkman gives the Yankees a powerful designated hitter who has slugged at least 24 HRs in each of his ten previous seasons. Berkman’s high water mark came in 2005 when he clubbed 45 HRs and drove in 136 runs.
Berkman is owed $6.5 million for the rest of the season, but it is believed the Astros are picking up a large sum of the remaining deal. The Yankees will send Triple A reliever, Mark Melancon and Single A speedster, Jimmy Parades to Houston.
One Interesting Note: Berkman had a no-trade clause in his contract. Berkman reportedly rejected a deal to the White Sox, but chose to go to the Yankees to play alongside long-time friend, Andy Pettitte. Berkman has a $15 million team option for 2011 that the Yankees will not pick up.
My Reaction: A great move by the Yanks. Nick Johnson has not played in months and Berkman will give the Yankees even more flexibility. Also with this move, the Yankees are banking on Jorge Posada to catch all games during the post-season.
In somewhat of a less exciting move, the Yankees acquired Indians right fielder, Austin Kearns. Kearns (.268, 8 HRs, 42 RBIs) is only owed $270,000 for the rest of the season. Kearns is a plus defender (+11.4 UZR) and hits lefties extremely well (.799 OPS)
My Reaction: Given Marcus Thames’ struggles, the Yankees really do not have a reliable right handed bat off the bench. Kearns gives the Yankees a cheap, versatile option.