Thursday, October 12, 2006

According to Jim

By Rembrandt Q. Einstein

This past Monday I read an interview with Jim Edmonds where he discussed his future, increasing frailty and diminishing playing ability (actually, he and the writer used euphemisms such as ‘ability to play on a consistent basis’, but the savvy reader can read between the lines), all while battling post-concussion syndrome.

After this season, Jim will join the ranks of free agency. The Cards are expected to fork over $3 million buyout, allowing them to void his 2007, $10 million option; although I doubt you’ll hear anybody in the organization say this out loud, it would be folly to keep him around.

What does Jim want? Even if it means hobbling back to the AL, sinking to the lowly role of DH (becoming, I’m sure he hopes, another Jim Thome), he wants to keep playing baseball. His exact words were “That’s the key: I want to play everyday.” But it’s hard to take a man with a concussion seriously on the topic of what he remains capable of doing.

According to Edmonds, he still has his bat, tools and several good years left in him. And you know, he may well at that. But he will never equal his better seasons, and at 37, in his condition, he’s never gonna be a Julio Franco.

It’s sad to say, ‘cause he’s one of my favorite players, but I think it would be folly for him to stick around playing the game. Jim, no matter where he lands, is likely to become the next Jeff Bagwell. And when – doubtfully “if” – it comes to that, he seems like the type of guy that will try to prove us wrong, showing up some spring camp, all worn down, sticking out like a sore thumb, embarrassing our memories of his once great self.

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