You gotta feel for the guy.
Today, it was announced that the San Diego Padres released center fielder Jim Edmonds. The team had stumbled out of the gate in 2008 to a thus-far-disappointing 12-23 record and felt that they needed to make a change.
Prior to the season, we had speculated that Edmonds would be a “boom-or-bust” addition to the Pads, and clearly, the organization already labeled him the latter. Edmonds was batting an abysmal .178/.265/.233 line prior to today. Admittedly, I am yet to see a San Diego game this year, but the article (linked above) mentions how it wasn’t just poor offense that did him in:
While Edmonds once made spectacular catches while with the Cardinals and Angels, he clearly lost a step or two and simply couldn’t catch up to fly balls.
Again, not having seen Edmonds play, it’s difficult for me to comment much on this, except to say that I’m sure his decline on defense is made far more visible by the very spacious outfield at Petco Park.
For those of you now wondering if your team should sign Jim, there are things to note:
CON: His BABiP has been decreasing annually since 2004, so it might not be much of a fluke.
PRO: His line-drive rate is as good, if not better than, his prime, so when he makes contact, it’s been solid a good portion of the time.
CON: He’s also making contact on fewer occasions. His strikeout rate is at 23.3%, which is higher than his career norm. And he always was very strike-out prone to begin with. Combine this with a BABiP trending down, and it’s a big warning sign.
PRO: But he’s back to seeing 4.2 pitchers per plate appearance! The old, more patient Jim is back!
CON: Despite this, he’s still not walking as often as he used to. Besides, when you’re batting .178, it doesn’t matter much anyway. You’re still an offensive liability.
PRO: But the glove! THE GLOVE! In a smaller outfield, he can still be a good defensive player, right?
CON: Probably not. At least not in center field. Even last year, playing in Busch Stadium which has much less space in center towards the corners, it was becoming clear that those Gold Gloves were a thing of the past.
So is this it for Jim? Knowing what I mentioned above, would you still take a chance on him?