The Padres are about to pick up center fielder Jim Edmonds from St. Louis for minor-league third baseman David Freese. Reportedly, the Cardinals also will be sending $1 million, which is why the deal hasn’t been formally announced yet.
Edmonds is in decline, and the Pads will need a contingency plan, but I like this move. They’re essentially signing him to a 1-year, $7 million deal. Like the acquisitions of Randy Wolf and Tadahito Iguchi (and the re-signing of Greg Maddux), it’s a relatively low-risk move.
The last time San Diego brought in a guy that everyone else had written off, it worked out pretty well. Who’s to say that lightning won’t strike twice?
Even if it doesn’t, the Padres aren’t giving up a top-shelf prospect here. I like David Freese, but he’s stuck behind better options. Here’s what I’d written about him for the book:
Freese, who hails from the same school that produced big-leaguers Marlon Anderson and Luis Gonazalez, put up excellent numbers in the California League in 2007. That’s nice, but as a 24-year-old, anything less would have been disappointing. I saw Freese play several times at Elsinore, and he reminds me of current Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. Both hit the ball hard to the middle of the diamond, with Freese showing good power to right-center. There has been talk that Freese might move behind the plate. He’s probably too old to become a big-league regular, but he could have a career.
I hope Freese exceeds my expectations in St. Louis, but I don’t think the Padres gave up much to get a player that will help them in the short term. Seeing that the club came within a few outs of reaching the post-season for a third straight year, I’d say the short term is a good place to be thinking about just now.
Not everyone is going to be part of a team’s foundation. Once you’ve put the building blocks in place, why overspend on peripherals? Yeah, I’d have loved to see Kosuke Fukudome come here or even Mike Cameron return for another couple of years. At the same time, I’m glad that the big money is being invested in guys who will still be making a difference 3-4 years from now.