It's been a long and winding road for Jim Edmonds. In May of 2008, the former Angel and Cardinal was released by the Padres. He was hitting .178/.265/.233 and it looked like he might be done. Five days later, he signed with the Cubs and went on to hit 19 home runs with a .369 OBP.
But then the offseason came, and the phone stopped ringing. At 38 years old and with no offers he felt like accepting, Edmonds sat out the entire 2009 season, and again it looked like his career might be over, until this spring.
After calling the Cardinals looking for work, Edmonds ended up with another NL Central team, the Brewers. He signed a minor league deal that allowed him to opt out on March 25 if he wasn't added to the major league roster. Baseball collectively yawned. Edmonds will turn 40 in May and hadn't played in over a year - expectations for him were pretty low.
Edmonds came to Brewer camp eager to prove his value, and did so in a big way. His defense in center field looked as good as it has in years. And at the plate, his bat also showed no signs of rust: He hit .286/.390/.457 in Cactus League play, with five walks and four extra base hits, including a home run.
The Brewers could desperately use a player with his experience and bat: two thirds of their everyday outfield is anything but a sure thing, with Carlos Gomez and his sub-.300 career OBP in center and the perennially disappointing Corey Hart in right. But, as of a week ago, Edmonds wasn't sure he was interested in a fourth outfielder role with the Brewers, and he told Ed Price he's not sure why he came back after a year off, and he's also not sure a few starts a week will be enough to keep him happy.
Apparently the issue has been resolved - Edmonds was added to the major league roster Thursday, on the first day he could have asked for his release if he wasn't on the roster. He also took the day off, asking manager Ken Macha for a personal day.
For better or for worse, Edmonds is a Brewer now, with a real opportunity to help the team in a reserve role. But it remains to be seen if that role will be important enough to keep him motivated.