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Jim Edmonds 2000 Home

Image by BaseballBacks via Flickr

I admit it, I’m an unabashed Jim Edmonds fan-boy. So naturally, I had a “heck yes!” moment when I read that he had been invited to spring training. I have to say I was sort of disappointed when I saw on the inter-webs that most of the fanbase reaction was of the Chicken Little, “the sky is falling” variety. I’d like to think of myself as a long-standing member with some stature in the hyperventilating prospect geekdom, so yeah, I can see some of the backlash, I suppose. But it’s JIM EDMONDS, people. He was only the best center fielder in the history of the franchise. Where’s the love?

Rk Player WAR/pos From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Jim Edmonds 45.3 2000 2007 30-37 1105 4356 .285 .393 .555 .947
2 Ray Lankford 37.7 1990 2004 23-37 1580 6289 .273 .365 .481 .846
3 Curt Flood 36.3 1958 1969 20-31 1738 6914 .293 .343 .390 .733
4 Willie McGee 22.6 1982 1999 23-40 1661 6100 .294 .329 .400 .729
5 Terry Moore 19.9 1935 1948 23-36 1298 5204 .280 .340 .399 .739
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2011.

Look, I think younger players like Jon Jay and Allen Craig deserve playing time, but it’s not as if Jim Edmonds hasn’t shown that he still something left in the tank. This invite to spring training is more than a mere victory lap for Edmonds. The man sat out 2009 and then was good for 2.8 WAR in 272 plate appearances last year with Milwaukee and Cincinnati, slugging .504 at the ripe old age of 40, mind you. Erstwhile, Jon Jay fell slugged around .300 the rest of the season after having a “J-Rod” type of  July. (Where have you gone, John Rodriguez?)

PECOTA thinks he still can contribute, says Colin Wyers. Marcel has him at projected for a .333 wOBA. OK, so that’s not that great, but look, this is a no-risk move on the Cardinals part. And it has Jim Edmonds finishing his career as a St. Louis Cardinal, which I think is a nice thing. I hope Jon Jay has the courtesy to give him #15 back, and I really do hope the Cardinals retire it when he finally does decide to hang it up for the good.

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Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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4 Responses to “Jimmy Baseball is back in Cardinal red”

  1. I think some of the hand-wringing had to do with TLR’s propensity for bringing in low-skill washed-up veterans… a sore spot for a fan base with visions of Randy Winn, Aaron Miles, Jeff Suppan, and Pedro Feliz in their minds. But you can’t lump Jim Edmonds into that company. Even at age 40, he had a .368 wOBA and played (at least) average-ish defense (depending on who you trust more: B-Ref or FanGraphs).

    I’m all for the development of Jon Jay… but it’s a realistically possibility that Edmonds is the better player, even at his advanced age.

    Here’s a random, interesting tid-bit about Edmonds: In Rob Neyer’s post about Edmonds last week, a commenter posted this statistic:

    Walk rate with the Angels (93 – 99): 9.3% Blah. Walk rate after (00 – 10): 14.4% Excellent

  2. I guess I feel differently. This signing does nothing for me, and I’ve always been a huge Edmonds fan. Is he appreciably better than Jay at this point? No and, at 41, really offers us nothing that Jay can’t provide us. Plus, it’s time to give Jay a shot, even if we are talking about a role as the 5th OF. Jay doesn’t need more “seasoning” at this point.

    Moreover, Jimmy’s signing does nothing to fill the legitimate holes we have. Will he be able to play CF if (when!) Tony sits Rasmus against a tough lefty? Why play Edmonds instead of Rasmus? Is he better than Craig in the corner? I’d say no. What, then, does he offer us except a trip down memory lane?

    I agree that, because it’s a minor league signing, it’s not that big a deal. However, it does give Tony license to play Jimmy “the veteran” at the expense of better, younger players. In fact, it gives him license to send either Craig or Jay to AAA to begin the season. Mozeliak needs to tighten La Russa’s reins, not loosen them.

  3. According to both ZiPS and Marcel, Jay is going to out-OPS Edmonds next year. I don’t necessarily HATE the signing, but I’m more bearish than most. Clearly, 2011 is a season built on short-term expectations, but at some point, a long-term approach is needed

  4. Sweet, impromptu Round Table. I probably fall somewhere in the middle of everyone here. I think Jimmy is largely a redundant piece. He’s probably something like a 1.5-2.5 win player as are Jay and Craig in comparable levels of PAs. That said, I’m also less worried than some that he will be taking PAs away from either Craig or Jay as I’m not convinced that either one is much more than the 1.5 to 2.5 win player they are now. How much growth are we stunting by not playing one of them? As long as we have cheap 4th and 5th OFers that can put up that level of performance I’m fine with things this year. As a methodology I don’t like the move, but in isolation I’m largely indifferent.

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