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Jimmy Baseball, Jimmy Cub

That image of Jimmy running towards the ivy in blue pinstripes hurts doesn't it? I want to preface this post by acknowledging that I started with the sole purpose of comforting us as we watch our very own Jim Edmonds do his best to help the enemy do what hasn't been done in 100 years.  Early in his tenure, I took a look at his home/away splits and it was ridiculous how Wrigley Field seemingly enhanced his statistics. I was a couple of paragraphs into this write-up before actually looking up his splits because I was absolutely certain that the same findings would remain: That it would not have been likely for Edmonds to put up comparable numbers if he never parted from the Cardinals. I also want to make it clear that I'm glad Edmonds is no longer a Cardinal. Subjectively, he seemed to be slowing down in the field. Over-the-shoulder catches at the warning track suddenly became doubles and triples... yet he continued to play that ever-famous shallow CF. Meanwhile, he appeared over-matched at the plate much of the time. So, when we were able to send him out to San Diego and acquire a decent prospect in return, I applauded the move (and even more so now as David Freese appears poised to contribute to the Cardinals organization either as a player... or important trade bait with Brett Wallace and Allen Craig also emerging). So much of us considered it a steal when Edmonds flailed in the spacious Petco park and was cut loose. And then those Cubs rumors started circulating... Let's look at three lines of numbers for Edmonds: 2006/2007 for the Cards, 2008 for the Padres, 2008 for the Small Bears, and career up through 2005. Only looking at career through 2005 because I don't want the years being evaluated to skew the overall numbers.

Team AVG OBP SLG OPS AB per HR
Cards '06 & '07 .255 .338 .436 .774 23.06
Padres 2008 .178 .265 .233 .498 90.00
Cubs 2008 .256 .369 .568 .937 13.16
Career thru '05 .291 .384 .543 .927 16.79

Wow. Those numbers with the Padres are abysmal. We're all too familiar with the numbers he posted on the 2006 and 2007 Cardinals' teams. But look at those Cubs' numbers: better than career in SLG, OPS, and AB/HR. Surely, these numbers are inflated by the wind in Wrigley Field, right? Well, it seemed that way at first. I arbitrarily picked July 20th as the midpoint mark (although I'm sure this is not split evenly down the middle). Away from the confines, his SLG, OPS, and AB/HR were .417, .764, and 28. In Wrigley during this time, they were a stunning .781, 1.195, and 8.14. At this point, I'm certain that Edmonds has not regained his MVP form... rather, he simply plays in a park that makes his play look more impressive than it really is. Who cares if the Cardinals disposed of this guy? He wouldn't have posted these numbers in Busch III anyways. Not so fast. With the whole picture now in view, we see that Edmonds has been a markedly improved player than what we saw over the last couple of years under the arch.

Team AVG OBP SLG OPS AB per HR
Cubs Away .269 .383 .523 .906 16.25
Cubs Home .242 .354 .617 .971 10.91

What about his defense? Surely, that's worse. We'll only give a quick glance here with fielding percentage, RZR, OOZ, fielding win shares (FWS). You can find the definitions for RZR, OOZ, and fielding win shares in The Hardball Times glossary.

Team FPct RZR OOZ FWS
STL 2006 .987 .898 38 3.8
STL 2007 .981 .852 48 2.9
SD 2008 .985 .914 10 0.6
CHC 2008 .973 .931 45 2.7

Nope. Jimmy Baseball just isn't going to leave us with any vindication. He's performing at a high level and we have to suffer through watching him do it for the Cubs. Even in the field, he's outdoing himself in nearly every category except the under-telling fielding percentage. Now, of course, his main gripe for wanting to be traded was because he wasn't considered an every day player by TLR. Turns out neither do other managers. He's only had 48 ABs against south paws this year as opposed to 292 ABs against RHPs. In 2004, he didn't have much of a righty/lefty split. Although our beloved Jim Edmonds may be nothing more than a platoon player these days, he's sure been one hell of one. I don't know about you, but as I'm taking in the 2008 playoffs, I'll reminisce about past Octobers... and many of my thoughts will drift to This Homerun, The Catch, and how #15 rallied the 2006 crew by handing out game-balls after every victory. It's gonna hurt to watch him contribute in similar fashion throughout the 2008 playoffs. If the Cubs were to complete their hundred year conquest, Edmonds would immediately become the darling of Chicago as he'll be portrayed by the media as the one acquisition that "knows what it takes to win." Indeed, this will be overplayed because his most recent success occured with the Cubs' #1 adversary south down I-55. Never thought I'd root against the guy, but the Cards/Cubs rivalry wins over the man IMHO. A guy can't be a legend for both the Cards and Cubs. It ain't right. Go Dodgers.

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