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February 4, 2011

BP Unfiltered

PECOTA looks at Jimmy Ballgame

by Colin Wyers

Jim Edmonds, you may have heard, signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals. This annoys me, mostly because I was really hoping he was going to end up playing for every NL Central team at some point in his career and he's really cut down the odds this ever happens.

It's a homecoming, of sorts—he did not return to his first franchise, the Angels. (Although you have to wonder—did the Angels at least ask if he was game, before deciding to trade away a power-hitting catcher for the Vernon Wells contract?) Instead, he returned to the franchise where he played the most. Does Edmonds have enough to make the team—and contribute once he's there? I decided to ask PECOTA:

JIM EDMONDS CF Born: 6/27/1970   Age: 41 Bats: L   Throws: L   Height: 6' 1"   Weight: 190  
Breakout: 0%   Improve: 20%   Collapse: 12%   Attrition: 19%   MLB: 68%   Comparables: Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Mike Schmidt (71)
2011 SLN MLB 41 375 43 17 1 12 42 40 80 2 1 .238/.319/.404 .260 .274 -0.1 CF 2, RF 0 1.1

That's a useful player, although his value to the Cards will likely depend less on his own production and more on how often LaRussa is letting him steal playing time away from Colby Rasmus. (And PECOTA seems to like his range in center field still, which the Cardinals will hope is true if they are putting him out there at the same time as the Lance Berkman, Right Fielder experiment.)

This isn't the sort of thing that will make or break a team. (Like, say, taking on four years of Vernon Wells' contract.) But Edmonds is the sort of guy who can still help a ballclub, and on a minor-league deal this looks like a no brainer for the Cardinals. (Unlike, say... okay, I'll stop.)

Colin Wyers is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Colin's other articles. You can contact Colin by clicking here

16 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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If Edmonds takes time away from Colby Rasmus, Cardinal fans should revolt and run Tony LaRussa out of town on a rail.

Feb 04, 2011 17:51 PM
rating: 3

Agreed. I love Edmonds for everything he did for the Redbirds, but TLR lost some of his older veterans during the off-season, and had Mo begin restocking.

Feb 04, 2011 18:38 PM
rating: 0

It'd be interesting to ponder what an Edmonds/Rivera platoon would look like compared to the production/cost of Wells. Toss Pods into that mix for $2M to spot in CF, keep Napoli for 1B/DH/C, and I think you're looking at a better ballclub than the +$15M they own this year.

Feb 04, 2011 20:10 PM
rating: 0

Colin, are those fielding projections based on nFRAA? Or are they based on a prior system? Just curious.

Feb 04, 2011 20:51 PM
rating: 0

I don't see any VORP numbers in any of your "teaser" projections - is that stat falling by the wayside?

Feb 04, 2011 21:19 PM
rating: 2

given that PECOTA projection, i don't see why edmonds is a better option than jon jay; i have to think jay's PECOTA is sunnier. but if edmonds makes the team, jay loses his roster spot.

and if he does make the team, it's far from a remote possibility that edmonds will take significant playing time away from rasmus. i think rasmus loses a minimum of 10 starts to edmonds, and potentially a far higher number.

Feb 05, 2011 05:13 AM
rating: 1
John Carter

There must be something wrong with your Replacement Level setting if a 40 year old (meaning slow) outfielder with a TAV of .260 is considered something useful on the order of a full win and a projected 375 PA.

Feb 05, 2011 08:17 AM
rating: -1

A .260 TAV and 2 FRAA in centerfield, over 375 PAs ain't going to set the world afire, sure. But 1.1 WARP isn't exactly setting the world afire either. It's basically saying he can hold is own against a 4A center fielder.

You think it's over-estimating his capacity to field the ball?

Feb 05, 2011 09:16 AM
rating: 0

40-year-old doesn't mean slow. It means that he is slower than he was at 30, but he was pretty damn fast then, and I'd put money down that he is faster at 40 than many of his direct competitors now. He wouldn't be the first CF to still be defensively useful at 40. Think about Haile Gebrselassie, the Ethiopian marathoner. He retired last year at 37 even though he beat his own record in the marathon at 35 and is already considering coming out of retirement to compete in the 2012 Olympics. My point here is that Jim Edmonds is safely considered to be a word-class athlete (as opposed to *just* a ballplayer). A World Class athlete has a slower aging curve than the rest of us mere mortals.

Feb 05, 2011 10:54 AM
rating: 1
Dave Holgado

Seems as likely as not that this deal is just a way for Edmonds to retire in a Cards uniform, and to do so during spring training. But if he does make the team, LaRussa is sure to use him almost exclusively against RHP, and I would imagine that PECOTA would have some trouble accounting for that change in usage. I'd expect somewhat better triple slash stats, in somewhat fewer AB.

Feb 05, 2011 08:49 AM
rating: 0

I was thinking much the same thing, but I wouldn't be surprised if he retires after a token number of regular-season games, rather than in spring training. One interesting question is: what would that do to his Hall of Fame chances? I'd consider him to be on the ragged edge of getting in (I'd vote for him, but I'm a Cardinals fan), and it may make a difference to be on the ballot with a good or bad pool of alternative candidates. Who's cashing it in this off season (or after a game or more in 2010, then retiring mid-season) other than Andy Pettite? Who's expected to do so after 2011?

Feb 05, 2011 10:13 AM
rating: 0
Dave Holgado

Griffey Jr. and Hoffman are in Pettitte's class. Junior's a lock, of course, and Hoffman should get in eventually. But honestly, there's going to be such a bottleneck of hallworthy candidates (some PED-tarnished, some not) becoming eligible in the next few years, I'd say it's not going to matter who's in your particular class for the several years after that, not until that backlog is dealt with. Edmonds has a decent case. I've always rooted for the guy. And this catch is still the best one I've ever seen:


Feb 05, 2011 12:35 PM
rating: 0

Griffey, Trevor Hoffman, and Billy Wagner all retired during 2010 or after the season and should be in. I can see Thome, Chipper, Manny, Pudge, and Giambi maybe retiring after 2011 and having pretty good chances.

Feb 05, 2011 12:42 PM
rating: 0
Dave Holgado

Forgot about B-Wags. And Thome and Manny and Pudge. Seriously, we're going to need to start electing some guys or this going to get out of hand.

Feb 05, 2011 12:49 PM
rating: 0
Dave Holgado

Oh, and Chipper might be in that class, too. Or else he heads the next one, which could also include Mo, Posada, Vladi, Maggs, Andruw Jones, Berkman, who knows...

Feb 05, 2011 12:45 PM
rating: 0

Hank Aaron and Stan Musial and Jim Edmonds...?

Feb 15, 2011 11:08 AM
rating: 0
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