trial balloon?

i'll have results from the encarnacion projection this afternoon (still time to post your numbers if you haven't already). this morning we focus on another stl outfielder, jim edmonds, on which subject ken rosenthal drizzled some ink this weekend at fox sports. the article, titled "Cardinals will have to decide on Edmonds," reviews (in not-great depth) the team's options concerning jimmy after 2006 -- viz., pick up his option for $10m for 2007, buy him out for $3m, or restructure the contract (adding years but decreasing the per-year salary). the article itself is far less interesting than the discussion thread about it at Baseball Think Factory. scroll down to comment #10 and read this from cardinal stat counselor mitchel lichtman, or mgl:

Of course, you never know if and when a player like Edmonds will be part of a major trade. In order to stay competetive, we will eventually (soon) need to replace him in CF with either another great player (and presumably pay through the nose) or replace him with someone good (and underrated) and then upgrade at the corners and at second, and of course eventually at SS again (which is another difficult position to find bargains). We have very few, if any, position player prospects ready for the majors anytime soon (I don't think).
hmmm. first time i've ever heard anyone on the organization's payroll explicitly mention the possibility that edmonds might depart in a trade. we've all heard rumors, of course -- most notably this one, which had edmonds shipped to the yankees (who hadn't signed damon yet) for robinson cano and chien-ming wang. and here's how mgl assessed those two ballplayers in an interview last week at the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog:
I think that Cano is the real deal and should help the Yankees for years to come. His hitting was surprisingly good last year, and should regress a little, given his modest MLE's in the minors. There are some differences of opinion as far as his defense goes. UZR has him as slightly below average in 05. I have heard others say that he is not that bad. If his defense ends up being above average, he is quite a valuable commodity.

I think that Wang is the real deal too, and ought to remain an above-average starter, which is a very valuable commodity, given that league-average FA starters command 8 mil a year or so. He was very good (his MLE) in the minors so it was not surprising that he would have pitched so well in 05.

maybe that cano-wang rumor wasn't so crazy after all. here's a paid front-office advisor who a) freely speculates that edmonds could be traded, and b) uses the phrase "valuable commodity" to describe both cano and wang. makes you wonder if there was indeed some discussion of this deal, at least within the cards' front office -- or possibly even a courtesy call to brian cashman. then again, maybe the discussion was merely between mgl and a sportswriter or three. remember, this rumor first surfaced at bernie's pressbox, posted by bernie himself in skeptical, but not entirely dismissive, tones: "For whatever it's worth, and I don't think it's worth much, but. . . . A new crazy one making the rounds is jimmy edmonds to the Bombers for 2B Robinson Cano and RH sp CM Wong."

please don't jump in with long comments explaining why this trade wouldn't make any sense -- because it surely wouldn't make sense now, after three months' worth of signings and trades. but it might have made some sense back in november, when the rumor first surfaced. the salary saved by edmonds' departure could have been used to acquire the then-unsigned brian giles, making the trade in essence edmonds for cano, wang, and giles -- a pretty clear gain for the cards. or maybe the cards would have put the money into yet another starting pitcher (burnett?) and then traded from their deep pitching surplus for help in the outfield.

anyway, the important point here isn't whether the edmonds-cano-wang rumor had any substance behind it. the point is that trading edmonds to restructure the payroll isn't out of the question -- and that's coming straight from a member of the cards' decision-making chorus.

one last item: for some worthwhile reading you may have missed over the weekend, check out cardnilly's post about the best player to wear 57 in franchise history.

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