Jim Edmonds sees a World Series in his future.
That has to be the only reason the 39-year old former Cardinals Outfielder would even think about picking up a bat again. Sitting out all of last year, Edmonds has recently caused a stir in St. Louis with comments that he'd like to don the Birds on Bat one more time.
Do I think he's serious? Absolutely. Why wouldn't he be? With the Cardinals current lineup, they figure to be strong candidates to represent the NL in this year's World Series. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?
Now, I've heard a lot of talk (especially from the St. Louis media) about how this would be a "horrible" idea for the Cardinals. Afterall, he's a 39-year old washed up pro that no one would even take a chance on last year. Where's the upside?
Well, let's take a look at some of the pros and cons involved with bringing back Jimmy 'Monds.
1. He'll undoubtedly go down as the greatest defensive centerfielder to ever wear a Cardinals uniform. Can he still perform at that level given his "advanced" age? Probably not. But the benefit of having a guy like that around Holliday and Rasmus for an entire season could pay substantial dividends down the road. Given the Cardinals current outfield (Holliday, Ludwick, Rasmus), Edmonds figures to be no more than a fourth outfielder and bat off the bench. If he's kept himself in any sort of shape, you have to figure that he'll provide you with at least average defense once every 5-10 days.
2. Many are quick to point out the decline of Edmonds' offensive numbers his last few seasons with the Redbirds. But you have to remember, he was breaking down. By the time the Cardinals uncerimoniously traded him away to the Padres, the Redbird Faithful were mostly happy to be rid of him. His time in San Diego certainly didn't do anything to change that perception either. But then something unexpected happened: Edmonds ended up with the enemy. Playing in the "Friendly Confines", Edmonds salvaged his season by hitting 20HRs and helping the dreaded Cubs win the NL Central.
I realize this probably does very little in the way of warming Cardinal fans to a possible return, but it does tell us one thing. In the right situation, Jimmy was still productive. Everyone knew that San Diego and their massive ballpark was going to be horrible for Edmonds. But put him in a hitter friendly or neutral ballpark (Busch III) and he still has value. The most important thing to remember is that he's had a year away from the grind of the MLB season. Combine that with the fact that he won't be expected to play everyday, or have the pressure to put up unrealistic numbers at his Favre-ian age...
3. He's a potential left handed power option off the bench. That, in itself, is a benefit that is hard to overlook if you're the Cardinals. TLR loves to mix things up, and he's a master of finding the perfect situation for his bench players to excel in. I'm sure that he could find a few spots throughout the season that Edmonds could remind us why we loved him so much.
4. Cost. With the Cardinals offseason thus far, you can't have a conversation about adding another player without discussing the cost. In this case, I would think that it would be relatively low. Maybe even as low as the minimum. I can't see Edmonds expecting to be paid any substantial amount of money for the Cardinals allowing him a shot at playing baseball again and the opportunity to win another World Series.
1. He'll be 40 years old before the season is over!
2. He still strikes out a ton. Even during his ChiTown resurgance, he only batted .235 with 82Ks in only 340ABs (By comparison, Pujols has 62Ks in 568ABs in 2009)
3. He would occupy a roster spot that could potentially be filled with younger talent with more upside (Allen Craig, Joe Mather, Nick Stavinoha, et al).
I don't know. What do you guys think?
At the very least, I don't think there'd be any harm in a Spring Training invite. Would still give our young players a month to pick Edmonds' brain. And if he can hit...? Well then you've got a cheap fourth outfielder.