What should we expect from the return of Cardinals outfielder Tommy Edman?

The veteran utility player is ready to help the Cardinals win. But for how much longer can he?
St. Louis Cardinals Photo Day
St. Louis Cardinals Photo Day / Elsa/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals are surviving after two months of play with a legitimate chance at playing for a Wild Card berth with a very weak National League. With only 10 teams having records above .500, there is only room for improvement for most teams. The Cardinals are searching for external options going into the deadline, but they would prefer upgrades internally. Tommy Edman might be the best case for internal improvement as they get their most versatile player back.

Edman, who is the team's established center fielder, is expected to make his return in the next month according to John Mozeliak. The return of Edman will lead to Michael Siani being moved to a bench role. Even with Siani exceeding expectations from Cardinals fans, he can now become the defensive replacement late in games for Alec Burleson or Nolan Gorman moving Brendan Donovan over to second base. The return of Edman only gives manager Oliver Marmol more tools at his disposal.

But with Edman missing nearly half a season already, what can we expect from him? He is expected to return from a very slow-moving progression to playing full game speed. Even with his talent and skill set, it will be very challenging for any player to make that kind of adjustment that quickly. John Mozeliak has added shopping for a right-handed hitting player who can play centerfield on his trade deadline wish list. Maybe that will platoon with Edman to not rush him back into an everyday role. But what if that is a move to replace Edman entirely?

With the organization looking for a fifth starter, bullpen depth, and a right-handed hitting centerfielder, they will have to trade their current position player depth to retool the team going forward. The team is still trying to discover its identity for the 2024 season, but so far they look like a .500 team. Mozeliak claims they will be deadline buyers which only means they will be selling players to make this happen. Dylan Carlson and Steven Matz are popular candidates to be shopped this summer by the Cardinals. But many teams will be calling the Cardinals looking at other options who could become available at the right price.

With injury uncertainty and similar players within the organization who can fill his role on the team, Tommy Edman could become the Cardinals' best trade piece at the deadline. He can play any position on the field, is a switch hitter, and is one of the best defenders in the game. The Cardinals need defense desperately right now, but if Edman can lead to filling multiple holes in the depth chart, then you have to listen to offers. The rumors are already starting with one of the game's powerhouses looking to provide roster flexibility of their own.

Whichever direction the Cardinals decide to take with Tommy Edman, he is still valuable to this organization. The team is in need of defense and Edman can provide that across the whole diamond. But with what it will take to fill all the glaring holes in the roster, Edman can solve that problem too. Fans might be split on either side of this discussion, but Edman is used to both sides of the plate. Having him sidelined for months on the IL is wasting his potential and the clubs for the season. Everyone should be excited for the return of Tommy Edman.