ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals needed outfield depth. Jim Edmonds needed a place to extend his career.
St. Louis agreed to a minor league contract with the 40-year-old on Friday that included an invitation to big league spring training. A clutch performer with the Cardinals from 2000-07 at the plate and in center field, Edmonds is a potential backup behind Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus and Lance Berkman.
Edmonds was a key component of the 2006 World Series title team and five others that made it to the postseason. He hit 241 homers with St. Louis, fourth on the franchise's career list, and is the team's postseason leader in games (61) and RBIs (41).
Edmonds is seven homers shy of 400 and 51 hits shy of 2,000, likely incentives to keep playing.
"Jim has had a tremendous career here in St. Louis," general manager John Mozeliak said. "We are pleased that he has decided to give it one more try with the Cardinals."
At the team's recent Winter Warmup, manager Tony La Russa said infielder Tyler Greene might get playing time in the outfield in spring training to determine whether he might fit as the backup center fielder behind the left-handed hitting Rasmus, especially the Cardinals were facing a tough left-hander.
"We're kind of creative with what we do down there, with a point to make," La Russa said. "Nothing crazy. In Tyler's case, he may play some center field."
Edmonds was traded to the Padres after the 2007 season for third baseman David Freese. He sat out the 2009 season and split last season with the Brewers and Reds, batting .276 with 11 home runs and 23 RBIs in 272 at-bats.
A leg injury kept him out of the Reds' brief postseason appearance last fall, a three-game sweep by the Phillies.
Edmonds and La Russa weren't on speaking terms in 2008. Then with the Cubs, Edmonds said La Russa misinterpreted remarks by the outfielder that he wanted to turn the page on his years with the Cardinals.
Last January, Edmonds went on stage at La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation charity event in St. Louis to ask for a contract after texting the manager to request permission.
Edmonds has eight Gold Gloves, six of them from 2000-05 with St. Louis. Perhaps his best overall season was in 2004 when he hit .301 with a career-high 42 home runs and 111 RBIs.