Yankees set to acquire Berkman from Houston
First baseman waives no-trade clause; Astros to get 2 prospects
NEW YORK — The Yankees expect to acquire Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros today and already worked out a deal to obtain outfielder Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians.
New York will send a couple of prospects to the Astros, a baseball executive familiar with the discussions said.
“Nothing’s been completed,” Berkman said Friday in Houston, before the Astros played Milwaukee.
A five-time All-Star, Berkman has full no-trade rights and his approval was necessary for a trade. He was not in the starting lineup against the Brewers.
“I’m from Texas. Heck, I played at Rice. This city is like the womb. I feel very comfortable here. To think about the possibility of going anywhere else is kind of scary,” said Berkman, who grew up in Austin and played at New Braunfels Canyon High.
“My ideal situation is to win a title here. If this organization feels those aims are better accomplished by trying to strip down this roster and reload with younger guys,
Continued from C I don’t want to stand in the way of that,” Berkman said. “If they approached me with something that made sense, I’d sure think about it.”
The 34-year-old Berkman began Friday hitting .245 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs.
Berkman said Astros general manager Ed Wade discussed a possible trade with him.
“He approached me two days ago with a list of probably eight teams that had expressed some interest. There were four yeas and four nays. There were some that were just no possibility,” Berkman said.
“In one way, it’s good if there are teams that still want me to play for them. That makes me feel pretty good, particular in a down season,” Berkman said. “I still have confidence that I could play at a high level. It’s a good feeling to hear these trade rumors. Obviously, these scouts from other teams feel that same way or else I wouldn’t be in the conversation.”
Berkman would fill the designated hitter slot originally intended for Nick Johnson, who returned to the Yankees during the offseason. Johnson has been on the disabled list since May 8 with a right wrist injury that required surgery.
Berkman, last an All-Star in 2008, is making $14.5 million this year.
His contract includes a team option for 2011 at $15 million with a $2 million buyout.
“You don’t always get to pick how you leave an organization,” Berkman said.
“If and when it comes time to move on, I’ll do it with as much grace as I can muster.”
Kearns left Cleveland’s game at Toronto in the seventh inning on Friday night, and his trade to the Yankees was confirmed by the executive.