The Cardinals have signed outfielder Jim Edmonds to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, according to a team release.
It's an odd move, considering first that former Redbirds GM Walt Jocketty said last week that he expected Edmonds to retire following an injury-plagued 2010 season. Second, Edmonds begged -- HE PUBLICLY BEGGED -- the Cardinals to sign him before last season and the club refused to do it. What's different between now and then except the fact that he's rolled over the odometer at 40 years old?
St. Louis does sort of need a backup centerfielder in case something happens to Colby Rasmus. I say "sort of" because they SAY they need a backup centerfielder. But we all know that they have a guy playing second base in Skip Schumaker who is the best defensive outfielder on the club... If Rasmus breaks his leg, is Edmonds capable of playing six or seven games a week for two months?
I wouldn't bet on it. But, then again, I wouldn't have bet on Lance Berkman playing 130 games in right field, either.
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While I'm happy to finally be able to break my Edmonds jersey out of mothballs following the unsavory time Jimmy Ballgame spent with the Cubs, Brewers and Reds, I just wonder how many miles his legs have left in them.
Edmonds did hit .276 last season with the Brewers and the Reds, hitting 11 homers and playing all over the outfield. But he couldn't play for Cincinnati down the stretch because his leg maladies just wouldn't heal.
I've already heard a couple of conspiracy theories: 1) The Cardinals signed Edmonds as a peace offering to sentimental fans because they know they can't sign Pujols. And, 2) The Redbirds signed Edmonds because Pujols wanted them to bring back his buddy and the team is doing anything it can to make Albert happy these days. If that was the case, how about negotiating in good faith?
I would love to see an Edmonds renaissance. But I wonder if this is a situation where he'd have to shock and amaze to make the club. And if he doesn't, at least he could retire as a Cardinal.
Edmonds is a .285 hitter in his career with St. Louis. He averaged 30 homers and 90 RBI a year during his first stay in Mound City from 2000-07.