Chicago Cubs: Pick up Edmonds and Continue to Dominate Early
This week has been filled with a few changes and a bunch more winning for the Chicago Cubs ball club.
Jim Hendry and company decided to pick up Jim Edmonds to add some much needed consistency to their center field position.
As of late, Reed Johnson and Felix Pie have done much of the center fielding for the Cubs. Johnson being stronger with the bat, Pie the better fielder.
To make room for Edmonds on the Cubs roster they have optioned Pie to their AAA affiliate, the Iowa Cubs. Likely playing everyday in AAA will give Pie a chance to work on his swing and hone his skills in center field.
The Cubs hope the nearly 38 year old Edmonds will offer a much needed happy medium and some more veteran experience to their young ball club.
Pie had been working with the AAA batting coach to improve his swing and consistency at the plate. Pie is just not ready to be an everyday center fielder in the Majors though he shows great potential.
Edmonds contract consists of a $6 million buyout for the Padres who released him on waivers on Friday whereas his other $2 million will come from the St. Louis Cardinals for still unpaid salary last year.
The Cubs will pay Edmonds the prorated MLB minimum of just under $300,000 for this year of service.
Edmonds will move right into the starting position for the Cubs and played his first game as a Cub today at Wrigley Field. It was officially the first time Edmonds, a former Cardinal, had ever been cheered on by the Chicago crowd.
Though Edmonds only has hit .178 for the Padres this season in 26 games, he has battled injury to his calf early in the season.
Edmonds boasts a .286 career batting average and Hendry calls Edmond's acquisition a low risk deal.
"We don't see the negatives," Hendry said. "Jimmy's been told he's going to have to earn his time. It's not like he's going into an automatic platoon system forever. He has to play well. He knows that. I think Jimmy Edmonds has always performed well when he's on contending clubs."
The Cubs lead the National League Central, which has some surprisingly good competition building early in the season, with a 25-16 record and are 2 games up on both the Cardinals and the Houston Astros.
Hendry has built a ball club which can compete for a World Series this season adding the perfect mix of young talented players and veterans of the league.
Hendry picked up Kosuke Fukudome before the beginning of spring training and Geovony Soto has been a refreshingly talented rookie catcher early on in the regular season.
Fukudome is hitting .324 with 29 runs and 16 runs batted in his 40 games played.
Fukudome has had a positive influence on the Cubs patience at the plate early in this season. Fukudome boasts the most average pitches in an at bat for the entire MLB.
Soto is hitting .321 with 18 runs and 29 runs batted in during his 37 games this year.
The Cubs started the week sweeping the at-the-time best record in baseball Arizona Diamondbacks before taking three of four from the worst record in baseball Padres.
The Cubs are off to their best start since 1987 and the players and coach Lou Piniella point towards team chemistry and just having fun doing what they do as a major factor that has played into their early success.
"You see the locker room, guys are having fun, having a good time," pitcher Ryan Dempster said. "The music is playing a lot after games. That's what you want to hear."
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