Ah, it’s that time of year when baseball news is scarce. This week there’s the usual retiring of baseball players who everyone thought would retire and actually did. These always bring about the standard, “Is he a Hall of Famer?” discussions.
Then there’s this year’s countdown to Spring Training , fully equipped with its own Albert Pujols melodramatic remembrance montage. (These links are a must click; it’s the expected “The Decision” website we were all waiting for.)
And now, with the St. Louis Cardinals signing Jim Edmonds we have the traditional minor-league signing of the ballplayer everyone thought would retire and didn’t.
Aside from the large elephant in the room that suspiciously looks like a missing Albert Pujols contract, all seems right in Cardinal Nation. The Cardinal broadcasts are back home where they belong, and Jim Edmonds, who posts a career .284/.376/.527 line, has a chance to make one final catch and end his career as a Cardinal.
He’s always said St. Louis is home to him, and he has remained a fan favorite. Now maybe Colby Rasmus will have a friend. If only the clubhouse attendant after the season in 2007 would have hidden all the jerseys with the number 15 on them, he could even have his old number back.
From an on-the-field standpoint—if he can stay healthy and make the major league roster—this could work very nicely for the Cardinals. One of the problems the Cardinals had in 2010 was their total bases production. In 2010, the club ranked eighth in the National League with 2227 total bases for the team. The division champion Cincinnati Reds led the league with a team total 2432 total bases.
For the Cardinals, this was a problem. If you have Albert Pujols on your team (if only for one more year) you need guys who will consistently get on base, any base, and stay on those bases.
Edmonds’ two primary rivals for a roster spot are Jon Jay and Allen Craig. Jay posted 121 total bases and had 287 at-bats. Craig had 47 total bases and 114 at-bats. As a point of reference, last year Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan had 439 AB and 129 total bases. On his two combined teams, Edmonds had 246 at-bats with 124 total bases. Edmonds can still get on base, and this is exactly the kind of help the Cardinals need.
Even with the fact that he still wears half-shirts and has his fair share of aches and pains, last year Edmonds had an .846 OPS. As for the 2011 year, I’m pretty sure it’s much harder to find a company that makes half shirts than it is to find good doctors who can help with Achilles tendon problems.
That leaves only one foreseeable problem with this deal: If Edmonds makes the major league roster, when the Cardinals play the Cincinnati Reds it’s going to be nearly impossible for him to figure out which team he should fight with.