2007 MLB Free Agents: Jim Edmonds
Seems time to revisit the situation of St. Louis center field stalwart Jim Edmonds. You may recall a month ago, when I remarked:
"Edmonds has a $10MM option for '07 with a $3MM buyout, so the Cards really just need to decide if Edmonds is worth $7MM in his age 37 season. Baseball Prospectus says he is, even if he only gets 515 plate appearances as projected. Even on the decline Edmonds is a powerful force in the lineup. However, the Fielding Bible ranks him just 32nd out of 35 center fielders over the last three years. They say that despite the excellent arm, he's "lost a step" and did not deserve his last two Gold Gloves. Still seems wise for the Cards to keep him around if they can limit the years on the deal."
If Torii Hunter hits the market, he'd be the top free agent CF. Otherwise, plenty of decent second tier options like Kenny Lofton, Dave Roberts, and Gary Matthews Jr. should be floating around. Edmonds may be the best out there other than Hunter. It would be silly for the Cardinals not to choose Edmonds's $3MM buyout over his $10MM option. How many teams would turn down a chance to have Edmonds on a one-year, $7MM deal? That's what Walt Jocketty faces.
Nonetheless, Edmonds is getting the vibe that the Cards will choose the buyout. Who's Jocketty going to bring in instead? Roberts or Lofton for a few million less? Even on the decline, Edmonds can still contribute an .825 OPS for 130 games. That's much better than the average NL CF, who has an OPS of .750 or so.