With Jim Edmonds' retirement announcement on Friday, a look back at his final at-bat.
"It was in the books while it was still in the sky. Brandt ran back to the deepest corner of the outfield grass; the ball descended beyond his reach and struck in the crotch where the bullpen met the wall, bounced chunkily, and, as far as I could see, vanished."
-- John Updike
On September 21, 2010, Jim Edmonds stepped into the box with one out in the top of the second inning to face Milwaukee's Dave Bush at Miller Park. Edmonds was getting the start at first base to spell Joey Votto, who was resting with a sinus infection. On the 2-1 pitch, Bush tried to sneak an 82-mile-per-hour slider over the inner half of the plate. Edmonds saw it all the way, though, and, with one swing of the bat, deposited the ball over the right-centerfield fence and into Cincinnati's bullpen. The scene, as it happened, was a familiar one: Bush cursed at himself for throwing such a bad pitch, the Miller Park crowd mixed their boos and cheers for a player who had been on their side a mere six weeks ago, and Edmonds circled the bases like he had ten other times that year and 392 other times in his career.
Taking a peek at the bare cupboard that is the remaining free-agent outfielders.
Outfield went from a position of reasonable depth to a veritable wasteland in under a week. Andruw Jones, Johnny Damon, and Manny Ramirez—outfielder emeritus—all came off the board. There are a few players left who look primed to provide solid value, but if the outfield is a perceived spot of weakness for a team, acting soon would be virtuous. Outside of the five players listed here, the options turn rancid quickly.
Taking a look at the futures of some older batsmen.
Welcome to the second and final part of To Play or Not to Play. As you may recall, last week we took a look at some free-agent pitchers who have been mulling retirement as the 2011 season draws nearer. Today, we’ll be taking a look at a few team-less hitters who find themselves in similar potential retirement situations. By looking at these batters’ performances from seasons past, we’ll aim to give some well-informed advice on whether they should stay in the game.
The Phillies and Brewers combined for an amazing six lefty-on-lefty home runs on May 14 and hardly anyone noticed.
As Christina Kahrl has said, one of baseball’s well-worn tropes is that every game provides you the opportunity to see something you’ve never seen before. When you buy your ticket and settle into your seat, you hope to witness something unique, or historic, or even comic, but in a marathon season of roughly 2,430 games, not every game can be so obviously special—and the May 14 game between the Phillies and Brewers, in which the visitors from Philadelphia beat Milwaukee 9-5, appeared to be just such a mundane early-season contest. Ageless wonder Jamie Moyer ran his record to 5-2 on the season, key off-season acquisition Randy Wolf fell to 3-3 for the Brewers, and Milwaukee’s continued pitching woes managed to drag them five games under .500 for the year. Just another win for Philadelphia; just another loss for the struggling Brew Crew; just another box score to digest and forget.
Edmonds is reborn with the Brewers and other notes from around the major leagues.
Baseball told Jim Edmonds to go away last year, as the eight-time Gold Glove winner and four-time All-Star did not get any offers as a free agent. That Edmonds was shunned by all 30 teams was hard to believe based on the events of Thursday afternoon. Edmonds played right field and went 4-for-6 with a home run and three RBI to help the Brewers roll to a 20-0 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park. It showed why Edmonds wasn't ready to retire last year, even when he couldn't find a job. He still believed he could play in the major leagues. Now, the 39-year-old veteran of 17 seasons is being vindicated.
The Padres outfield may not have a best-case scenario, not without going outside of the organization.
Among the many injuries ripping across the game right now, I noticed that Jim Edmonds is going to miss the rest of the exhibition season with a strained right calf. That Edmonds is injured isn't a surprise at all; he's 37 years old, he missed 97 games over the past two seasons with a variety of ailments, helping make him a significant risk this year, and he plays one of the most demanding positions on the field.