According to the Tribune, the Cubs are exploring the possibility of trading for/signing the recently DFA'd Jim Edmonds. Bruce Levine of ESPN1000 stated that the Cubs interest in Edmonds was lukewarm. I think it should be cold.

In an ideal world, the Cubs would have a left-handed bat to protect Aramis Ramirez who wasn't named Kosuke. Kosuke isn't a #6 hitter, he's a #2 hitter. But, let's not jump to hiring somone else's trash just to get a left-handed bat in the lineup. The last time the Cubs signed a guy because of his handedness, they ended up with Shawn Estes.

This is the kind of crap that bugs me about JH. After he's caught lightning in a bottle once (ReJo), he thinks that he can do it again with the same results. Look, no one hits well in Petco Park, so Edmonds is likely going to hit higher than .178 if he makes another squad. But let's ignore that for a minute. Edmonds is 106 years old (OK, so he's actually going to be 38 come June). He had 5 errors in 110 games for the Cards last year. He's broken down.

If the Cubs wanted to sign him to a minor league deal to see if he has anything left and as an insurance policy, I'd say OK. But let's not jump on his .178 BA and his 37 year old body somehow being better than Felix Pie and the answer to finding a hitter behind ARam. I am tired of hearing that Pie would be better served in AAA. Yes, playing everyday would be nice to see, but Pie certainly doesn't need to face AAA pitching, because he crushes AAA pitching. I would rather see him getting a lot of instruction from Lou and Co. in the cages before games and letting him work his issues out against big league pitching. He's a #8 hitter for now; the Cubs need his defense and speed more than they need him to hit .300.
March 13th Update It appears imminent that Jim Edmonds will be the newest member of the Chicago Cubs, as soon as he clears waivers tomorrow. Sources across the board say that he will be a Cub. One rumor is that Edmonds has told his agent not to talk to any other teams until he has had a chance to talk to the Cubs. Another rumor has him signing a minor league deal (which would get a big thumbs up from this writer, instead of throwing him into the platoon right away). The only other team reportedly interested is the Toronto Blue Jays (who are ironically desparate for OF help after DFA'ing ReJO...good move, Jays), and I can't foresee Jim Edmonds wanting to finish out his career in Toronto, playing on Astroturf. The only way I can even fathom Edmonds heading to Toronto is if he is especially close with former teammate Scott Rolen.

Comments (2)


May 12, 2008 at 10:06 PM

Don't forget about Hendry's brilliant signing of the left-handed French OFer Jacque Jones. That guy was only picked up due to his handedness too. And that didn't work out too well-for the Cubs last year or the Tigers this year.

I agree 100% with Lionel here. Signing Edmonds is nothing more than a backward looking waste of roster space. You're not getting "Jim Edmonds" all-star (who was always overrated anyway due to his Sportscenter catches), you'd be getting Jim Edmonds the bum who can't hit anymore and who had a suspiciously steep decline over the last couple years (I'm just sayin'). To send down a young, important player like Felix Pie to make it happen is ridiculous. Just don't do it.

Here's BP's Joe Sheehan's take:

Prospectus Today
Jim Edmonds

by Joe Sheehan

Like Willie Mays and Brooks Robinson, like Sandy Amoros and Bobby Richardson, like Ray Fosse and Rodney McCray, the defining image of Jim Edmonds’ career will be one in which he was wearing a glove rather than carrying a bat.

Edmonds, for most of his career a very good defensive center fielder with a flair—some have argued a predilection—for the dramatic catch, was playing his usual shallow center field on the evening of June 10, 1997, in Kauffman Stadium. Light-hitting David Howard was at the plate with two on and two out, and Edmonds was in place to charge any bloops the career .229 hitter might dunk into short center. On this occasion, though, Howard made solid contact, roping a line drive over Edmonds’ head towards the center-field fence. Edmonds turned and raced back, his #21 turned to the infield, and as the ball descended, he left his feet, extended his arms fully and made what is known in Angels’ lore simply as "The Catch."

Determining the greatest defensive play in baseball history is beyond the scope of statheads, and is instead the stuff of bar arguments. Can a play in a fifth inning in June by a center fielder for a 32-28 team be compared to a World Series-saving grab? Does context matter more than degree of difficulty? For that matter, how do you define difficult? It’s enough to say that Edmonds’ catch is one of the greatest plays anyone has ever seen, a combination of athleticism, instinct, timing and a little bit of luck.

It’s also the signature moment of a career that may have come to an end this week. Batting .178/.265/.233 and no longer playing the caliber of defense he did a decade ago, Edmonds was released by the Padres. It’s not certain that he’s played his last game—heck, he could be a Blue Jay before this article gets posted—but his steep decline since 2004, his advanced age and the complete disappearance of his power are all signs that this could, and perhaps should, mark the end of the road.

It’s a sad moment for me; Edmonds has long been one of my favorite players, someone who I underrated considerably coming out of the minor leagues and grew to love watching, both for his aggressive defense and his deep-count approach at the plate. I have a soft spot for left-handed hitters with Three True Outcomes leanings, and Edmonds combined that with top-tier glovework at a premium position. He was probably the best center fielder in baseball in the first half of the 2000s, and a legitimate MVP candidate more than once at his peak. Despite being tagged with the labels "arrogant" and "hot dog," not entirely unwarranted, Edmonds was a key part of teams that made six postseasons, won two pennants and one World Series.

Two years ago, I examined the notion that Jim Edmonds would some day reach the Hall of Fame. The conclusion then was that he was in the gray area:

What Edmonds has going for him is that at 36, he's still playing at a high level. While he's not going to push his traditional statistics into the stratosphere--the only notable marker he has a shot at his 400 home runs—he should be able to accumulate some milestones and certainly add to his value. Barring a collapse along the lines of Jim Rice, where he loses the ability to hold a job in the next two seasons, Edmonds will finish his career as the second-best center fielder of his era, and a certain Hall of Famer.

The thing is, that’s exactly what happened. In a decline that mirrored Rice’s, Edmonds went from being a great player to out of the league in a bit more than two years, and instead of accumulating milestones, he was given away by one team and released by a second within the span of a few months, leaving him with just 1840 games played, 1817 hits, 363 home runs, and 1127 RBI. Those numbers don’t mean that he can’t make the Hall of Fame, but they won’t work for him as well as they might have.

Evaluating a partial career is folly. A player’s place in history runs on two tracks: peak value and career value. Few Hall of Famers are all one and not the other—Sandy Koufax comes to mind—so you need a mix of both to get into Cooperstown. You want to be among the very best players in the game for a while, and you want to contribute for a long time. Edmonds’ career is all peak; from 1995 through 2005, he was a fantastic player save for an injury-plagued 1999. Outside of that period, he had 292 hits, 37 homers, and just 365 games played. Fred McGriff looked like a Hall of Famer at 38 before collapsing. Active players such as Gary Sheffield and Curt Schilling may find that a sharp descent and a rapid end to their careers has a deleterious effect on their chances. Without knowing the value that a player, particularly one short of full qualification, puts up in their waning years, you can’t determine their viability for the Hall.

The sharp drop-off is a significant problem for many players. Some of the most emotional Hall of Fame debates are fought on this ground, where a player who "felt" like a Hall of Famer at his peak—Rice, or Dale Murphy, or Don Mattingly—falls short of the established standards because he couldn’t extend his productivity past his peak. Edmonds doesn’t quite fit this group, because the perception of his talents lagged behind his performance, but his inability to stay productive in the twilight of his career will have a similar, chilling effect on his candidacy.

Whether he is honored with a plaque one day or not, though, Edmonds will be remembered for that spring evening out on the Great Plains, when a Jason Dickson fastball was turned around with authority, then chased down and hauled in by a man parallel to the ground, perpendicular to the wall, prostrate in the air.

More than 200 men are cast in bronze, but it’s much smaller group who have ever made a memory like that one. Thanks, Jim.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact Joe by clicking here or click here to see Joe's other articles.


May 13, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Jayson Stark said on Mike & Mike this morning that he was pretty confident the Cubs were going to make this move.