Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was roundly criticized last summer when he called the St. Louis Cardinals a team of whiners, but the words of long-time Cardinal Jim Edmonds have revealed the legitimacy of the critique, at least as it relates to him.
You wouldn't think a guy who suffered a career-ending injury on his own home run trot would feel entitled to talk smack about anyone else.
But logic has never stopped Jim Edmonds. Edmonds, the same guy who once oddly complained that his now-beloved Cardinals would be breaching his contract if they did not pick up their half of a mutual option, has not shifted his ever-moving ire to the Cincinnati Reds. In an apparent attempt to get back in the good graces of Cardinal Nation, Edmonds unloaded on the the Cincinnati Reds Friday, the team with which he ended his career, in an interview with Saint Louis radio station 590 KNFS.
There interview is posted here. http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2011/04/01/edmonds-talks-about-his-stay-with-reds/
Before examining those comments, let us review Edmonds tenure with the Reds.
The Reds traded outfielder Chris Dickerson, the only player on the 40-man roster with anything resembling the skill set to be a leadoff hitter, to the Brewers last August for Edmonds in a post-waiver deadline transaction.
Reds General Manager, Walt Jocketty, who ran the Cardinals during their world series run of which Edmonds was a part, seemingly threw Edmonds a lifeline with the move. He rescued him from a bad Brewers team going nowhere and gave him one last chance for a playoff run before Edmonds rode off into the sunset. Edmonds did not have much left to offer physically, but, the argument went, he could provide the young team some veteran leadership for a possible playoff run.
From the Reds perspective, the move proved an unmitigated disaster.
Edmonds batted .207 in 29 at bats with the Reds over 13 games, before a home run trot turned bad ended his season. Edmonds' lingering injuries, combined with the departure of Dickerson and an unrelated injuries to outfielders Laynce Nix and Jay, meant that the Reds were forced to play the majority of their stretch run with exactly three available outfielders.
Two-thirds of that trio, Johnny Gomes and Chris Heisey, were visibly worn down from their extended service and shadows of their former selves by the time the playoffs started. Neither were productive, and the Reds were swept by the Phillies in the opening round. The Jim Edmonds trade may not have caused the Reds to get swept, but it certainly did not help.
Against this backdrop, Edmonds, rather than apologizing to Reds Nation for his abject failure to serve the purpose for which he was obtained, instead released a surprising flurry of complaints against all things Red.
He complained about his lack of playing time in Cincinnati prior to his injury. Edmonds played in nine of 13 games after being acquired by the Reds, then missed almost a month. In his fourth game back, his season ended after his home run trot of doom. Given that Edmonds could not stay healthy enough to complete a home run trot while playing part-time, it is hard to believe that the scotch tape holding him together could have held through a series of consecutive starts. Make no mistake, Edmonds' injuries limited his playing time far more than did Reds Manager Dusty Baker.
Edmonds also seemed to blame his still-lingering foot injury on the Reds medical staff (who, let the record show, were nowhere near the basepath). This, despite the fact he admitted he still hadn't healed, after spending all spring being worked on by the Cardinals' doctors who could not fix him either.
He said the Reds obviously didn't have a chance coming into the playoffs, because due to their youth and naivety "they" (as opposed to "we") were not ready to play. Of course, this was exactly the flaw for which Edmonds was brought in to solve. But rather than attempt to do so, Edmonds apparently just pouted. As Edmonds said, "I went in thinking God these guys are gonna be a pain….but they are all actually pretty good…except that one guy" (presumably Phillips). Surely that kind of veteran leadership is exactly what Walt Jocketty was looking for when he brought Edmonds into the fold. Job well done, Jimmy Baseball.
Edmonds might have made a half-hearted effort to mute his critique by saying that the Reds roster, other than "one guy" were full of good people, although they were "good people" not as talented as the Cardinals. But if Edmonds had any actual regard for his former teammates, he would not be shouting his perceptions of their deficiencies to the world.
Edmonds said that instead of reporting to Cincinnati when he got traded last August, he wished he would have just retired. Given how little Edmonds contributed and his odd choice to bite the hand that tried to feed him, Reds fans undoubtedly feel the same way.