When Matt Holliday was reintroduced this month after signing his nice new contract (7 years, $120 million), the Cards’ leftfielder decided to switch numbers. Instead of the number 15 he sported in 2009, Holliday will now take the field wearing the number 7 jersey. The change was one Holliday made to pay homage to Cardinals great Jim Edmonds, who wore 15 while roving centerfield from 2000-2007.
Perhaps, the switch could be more than just a small tribute. Number 15 may not have to sit on the shelf for the 2010 season. No, Holliday didn’t switch back. Jim Edmonds wants to put the jersey back on for one last hurrah in St. Louis after taking 2009 off. Edmonds was a fan favorite wherever he went in his career, and would be welcomed back with open arms. His gritty style of play matched with highlight reel defense made him the model for centerfield play along with Torii Hunter during his career. Now, Edmonds wants to give it another shot, contributing to a contender like the Cardinals.
At Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue benefit on Sunday, Edmonds had a little fun with his old skipper. Jim texted La Russa during the event for permission to speak on stage. To Tony’s surprise (he’s getting surprised a lot lately) Edmonds announced he would be interesting in making a comeback for the league minimum. He has the backing of teammates and La Russa promised to give it some thought. Cardinals’ fans will be watching for Edmonds in Jupiter, Florida when Spring Training commences.
Could Edmonds make the team? He will be healthy, a big plus considering his career was riddled with injuries. His all-out style of play landed him on the DL many times, and most likely led to his exit from the game. With a full year to recover, he may be refreshed to give the Cardinals a valuable year as a spark off the bench. In his final stint in the Majors, Edmonds gave the Chicago Cubs a great lift with his bat and experience, hitting 19 homers and driving in 49 in 85 games as the Cubs took the Central. At the very least, Edmonds would be a perfect mentor for the Cards outfielders, especially young Colby Rasmus. Rasmus is coming off a solid rookie year and will likely be the opening day centerfielder this year.
For $430,000, it may be worth it to add a capable bat off the bench and an extra “coach” to this team. Edmonds would be a positive addition to a team that appears to be among the best in the National League. A Spring Training invite wouldn’t hurt.