05/03/2004: Jim Edmonds reaching the end of his career?
That's what this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch seems to hint:
The past four seasons have been the most successful of the Cardinals center fielder's 11-year career based on a combination of on-base and slugging percentage, the chic measuring stick of a player's offensive worth. Friday night Edmonds received his sixth Gold Glove overall and his fourth since reaching the National League in 2000.We hope that Jedmonds isn't at the end of his career yet, and that he can be productive for the Redbirds for quite a few more years. But still, you've got to appreciate someone who can come to grips with the possibilities this rationally.
Seven weeks shy of his 34th birthday, Edmonds is still considered close to the crest of his career. In spring training first baseman Albert Pujols called Edmonds' talent "sick," a reference to Edmonds' ability to mash pitches even after tacking three weeks of camp inactivity onto a two-month rehab from shoulder surgery.
An All-Star last season and the regular cleanup hitter for one of the league's most potent lineups, Edmonds is on a perch lofty enough to see the end of his career.
"My intention is mentally, financially and physically to be ready to retire when my contract is up," he said before the start of the club's ongoing four-act drama against the Chicago Cubs. "That's basically how I've set my life up."
Edmonds' contract runs through 2006 with a pricey club option for 2007. There is potential for Edmonds' prediction to become reality when he is only 36 and the team's new ballpark is just completed.
"I would like to finish my career here," Edmonds said. "That said, whether they pick up my option or offer me another deal, I don't know how long that would be. I'm definitely not going to be one of those guys who after he's reached the end of his career goes from team to team just to gather I-don't-know-what."
Edmonds doesn't speak from frustration. He has averaged almost 98 RBIs the last four seasons. Last season he hit 39 home runs in 447 at-bats despite wrenching his right shoulder during the All-Star Game home run competition.
"I'm preparing myself for the end," he said.
A player of extremes, Edmonds built a case for league MVP at last July's All-Star break, then struggled to bat .214 with 22 RBIs afterward.
Edmonds' two daughters will be 9 and 13 when the guaranteed portion of his contract expires. His body, which has suffered injuries to his hands, shoulders, knees, groin, rib cage and abdomen, is also an issue.
"I'm tired of waking up with my feet numb and my right knee sore," said Edmonds, injured numerous times but sent to the disabled list only once in his four seasons with the Cardinals. "If I was just sore and achy every day, that's no big deal. But waking up every morning and the first 10 steps I take my left foot is completely numb. I've had four knee surgeries, three shoulder surgeries. I want to play, but when it's time to retire, I'll get on with it.
"I've always been someone who would rather prepare themselves for the worst rather than wishing for something that may not happen."
UPDATE: Dan at Get Up, Baby! has some interesting comments on this article too.
Len on 05.03.04 @ 09:59 AM CST