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Some Orioles notes on Berkman, Showalter and FanFest

Another day and another player linked to the Orioles goes elsewhere.

This time it was Lance Berkman, who signed a one-year, $10 million deal (with a $1 million option buyout) to be the Texas Rangers' designated hitter, according to several reports.

Berkman’s penchant to get on base (a lifetime .409 mark) certainly made him intriguing to the Orioles, but given his persistent knee injuries and the fact that, at 36, he is strictly a DH these days, it wasn’t really a fit.

He is like a lot of other free agents on the market this year. The Orioles are curious as to what it will take to get them, but they aren’t in heavy pursuit. Executive vice president Dan Duquette has said all along that he’s more apt to trade for a bat than get one via free agency.

Frankly, given Berkman’s ties to Texas – he was born there, went to college at Rice, played most of his pro career in Houston – it was a pretty easy jump to match him up with the Rangers, a perennial contender who need a bat after losing Josh Hamilton. The contract’s worth, however, was surprising considering the Big Puma had just 97 plate appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012.

** Manager Buck Showalter and team owner Peter Angelos continue to meet and have talks toward completion of a multi-year extension as well as conversing about other baseball and non-baseball-related topics.

The sides would like to have an extension in place before FanFest on Jan. 19. An announcement could come as early as this week.

Showalter’s initial contract expires at the end of the 2013 season.

** A quick FanFest note: Ticket vouchers for the Orioles’ autograph sessions sold out within the first hour today. It’s the first time the club has sold out of vouchers on the first day, according to a club spokeswoman.

Tickets for the overall event at the Convention Center are still available, but they are selling more rapidly than in past years.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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