Ever since centerfielder Jim Edmonds joined the St. Louis Cardinals from the then-Anaheim Angels via trade in 2000, he has been one of the pillars of the club.
As a Cardinal, three All-Star appearances, six consecutive Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger Award and a fifth-place in the 2004 National League Most Valuable Player Award voting. His Cardinals teams have won or tied for four NL Central Division crowns and made the playoffs five of his six years there.
But, despite all the contributions
Will 2006 be his last year wearing
the Birds on the Bat? Or, will the team exercise their option to bring
We'll look into all those scenarios. But first, let's review the background.
In a Monday story in the Belleville News-Democrat,
I have received word from a single
source that the Cardinals have begun to quietly test other teams' interest in a
I do not know if
According to my source, at least
three teams have expressed interest in talking with the Cardinals about
As always, I have to include an emphatic warning. I DO NOT believe that the Cardinals are anywhere close to a making a trade nor am I even necessarily convinced that they mean it.
But, just the rumor that a deal
may be under consideration crosses a line that I did not think would be crossed.
Regular readers know I had consistently discounted any notions of an
Still, my source tells me that the
For reference, in November, the
Braves' third baseman signed a new deal. There are some interesting parallels
Jones' previous six-year contract was to end in 2006, with him receiving $17 million this coming season. There were also two team option years in 2007 and 2008 that would pay $15 million each season or could be bought out for $5 million. Jones also had a vesting option based on plate appearances or being named an All-Star. Under that deal, Chipper would potentially have received as little as $22 million or as much as $47 million in 2006 and beyond.
The new contract covers the same 2006 through 2008 seasons, but provides more security both for Jones and the Braves. It effectively reduces Chipper's 2006 take from $17 million to $15 million ($4 million bonus plus $11 million salary). For 2007 and 2008, Jones will be assured of making $11 million each season. There is also an option for 2009 at somewhere between $8 and $11 million, potentially with vesting and undoubtedly with a buyout.
So, what does this mean? Jones potentially took less money (three years, $37 million) in return for knowing with relative certainty that he could remain a Brave for what may be the rest of his career.
For this to work similarly for Edmonds, he would have to be willing to come down in salary from his $12 million in salary in 2006 and the $10 million option in 2007 in return for more guaranteed years.
Clearly, Chipper had more leverage
in terms of years on his previous deal and potential money to "give back". He is
also over two years younger than
Still, I can see why
Trade talk logic
But, why float the idea of a trade? I can see at least four possible reasons that Jocketty may be thinking about it. The reality may be some combination of these or other factors not even listed.
- Put pressure on
to perform in 2006. Edmonds
' public talk about wanting his 2007 option picked up by opening discussions now. Edmonds
- Use the threat of a trade to push
into agreeing to an extension that decreases the Cardinals' current and future contribution below the $12 million mark in 2006 and $10 million next. Edmonds
- And last, but not least, simply
while he still has value. Edmonds
That last point is not one that
Cardinals fans will want to believe; nor should they at this point, anyway. Yet,
any trade for
However, there are a precious few
who can match
Given that unfinished business for
2006, my instincts tell me that despite the bluster and backroom intrigue,
Beyond that, it's anyone's guess.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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