Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has an informative look at how the Cardinals will reshape their team this winter.
Aside from a major rotation makeover, there’s also the issue of Jim Edmonds’s $10MM option. According to Strauss:
"The Cardinals are increasingly unlikely to assume Edmonds’ $10 million option for 2007, an issue complicated by the Gold Glove outfielder’s ongoing struggle with post-concussion syndrome, according to club sources."
I have a lot of faith in Strauss’s club sources, and this has definitely been the vibe lately. Edmonds himself feels that it will be declined.
I know it’s been a disappointing year for Edmonds, but I have to get up on my soapbox again: exercising his option is a no-brainer for the Cardinals. They need a center fielder. Edmonds is still well above average. The decision to exercise the option is essentially the decision to give him a one year, $7MM deal (given the $3MM buyout price). What team, in need of a center fielder, wouldn’t take Edmonds at that price and length?
Teams do this all the time: they pass over the best option because he’s the in-house option. No other good reason. Kind of reminds me of when the Cubs let Moises Alou walk after 2004. Say Edmonds had been a Yankee all his life, put up the exact same numbers, same contract, same post-concussion problems. Brian Cashman inexplicably buys him out this winter. Instead of testing the free agent waters, Edmonds tells Walt Jocketty he wants to be a Cardinal for one year, $7MM. Is there any chance in hell Jocketty would turn that down?
The alternatives: throw Juan Encarnacion out there, or sign one of these guys. I’m a big fan of the former option, because it rights the wrong that was signing Encarnacion to a three year, $15MM deal. I wish the Cubs would do this with Jacque Jones. A .776 OPS looks a lot better coming from CF than RF. The only catch is that Jocketty would then need to sign Moises Alou, Jose Guillen, Trot Nixon, or Gary Sheffield for right field. If that’s the solution, I’ll stop griping about Edmonds because that’s not bad at all.