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With New Regime Set To Take Over Astros, Could Lance Berkman Return To Houston?

Lance Berkman has taken to murdering the Astros in 2011, especially at Minute Maid Park. In six games in Houston, he's hit five home runs, has 12 RBIs, and is batting .480 in his old digs. 

Let's get this out of the way - if the Astros did pursue bringing Lance back, it would not about righting a wrong. The Astros were absolutely right to trade Berkman away when they did. He was out of shape, he admitted himself that he wasn't trying his hardest in the face of all the losing, and it seemed as if his skills had eroded as much as his interest. There should be no ill will as a result of that trade. As far as what they got for him, yes - criticize away. 

The Astros are in full rebuild mode, so bringing back 35-year old Lance Berkman would be a step back, would it not? Eh, I don't think so. You still want to win games, you still want to sell tickets, and you still want some veteran leadership (the kind that also produces results).

If the Astros think Brett Wallace is going to be around for a long time (meh), fine. Berkman has been playing right field for the Cardinals, and they could certainly work something out in Houston if all parties are interested.

Berkman made it clear in the past that he wanted to stay in Houston, but his actions and work habits didn't exactly reflect that. Now he's remade himself, and once again become one of the better players in the National League. If the new ownership group wants to entertain the notion of bringing him back, they're going to run into two fairly large roadblocks.

1) He's not going to come cheap. Berkman may in fact give the team a discount (he shouldn't, but he might) but he's making $8 million in St. Louis in 2011. Why would the Cardinals not do everything it takes to bring him back if he holds up for the rest of the season? 2) Lance is a good guy and he loves Houston and Texas, but I'm pretty sure by now he's figured out winning is better. Much better.

It's a longshot, but with Drayton McLane and (presumably) Ed Wade out of town, it could at least open the door to the possibility of a return, and close the door on recent hurt feelings that have surfaced.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.