Edmonds made it clear last week that he wanted to get back into the game after sitting out the 2009 season. He will turn 40 in June, but Brewers general manager Doug Melvin likes that Edmonds can play all three outfield positions and is eager to reach some personal milestones. He's 18 home runs shy of 400 for his career.
Over parts of 16 Major League seasons, Edmonds is a .284 hitter with four All-Star appearances to his credit and eight Gold Gloves. He last played in 2008, hitting .235 with 20 homers and 55 RBIs in a year split between the Padres and Cubs.
"He's left-handed, he's a professional, he can play everywhere, he knows the division and he's hungry," Melvin said. "I'm sure you lose a step as you get older, but I have a lot of faith in the veteran guys like Edmonds and [Craig] Counsell and [Trevor] Hoffman. [Edmonds] has his juices flowing, and he wants to play. This guy has had a pretty good career."
Melvin wouldn't say specifically what Edmonds would earn if he makes the Major League roster but said the deal was similar to the one he stuck with Gabe Kapler prior to the 2008 season. Kapler came out of semi-retirement that year to play with the Brewers for $800,000 and was a productive extra outfielder, hitting .301 in 245 at-bats. Edmonds and Kapler share the same agent, Paul Cohen.
FoxSports.com reported that Edmonds would earn a $825,000 base salary if he makes the team and could earn a total of $2 million-$2.5 million if he plays the full season and reaches certain performance incentives. Fox Sports also reported that Edmonds can elect free agency if he isn't added to Milwaukee's roster by March 25, which is 12 days before the Brewers' season opener.
If he wins a job, Edmonds would be an experienced left-handed bat off the bench for the Brewers, who have a very right-handed starting lineup. The current fourth outfielder, Jody Gerut, is also a left-handed hitter, and so are non-roster invitees Trent Oeltjen, Logan Schafer and Adam Stern. The Brewers also picked up utility man Joe Inglett off waivers on Wednesday, and he hits left-handed, as does Counsell. The Brewers officially list Hernan Iribarren as an infielder, but he can play outfield, too.
The Edmonds deal could cap the Brewers' offseason maneuvering, though Melvin said the door remained open to a Minor League deal with left-hander Mark Mulder.
"You're always working, looking at things that could help your club," Melvin said. "But I don't know where else we would add right now."
Edmonds will wear No. 15 for the Brewers.
In addition to Edmonds, the Brewers announced Thursday that they had reached 2010 contract terms with six young players on the 40-man roster: infielders Luis Cruz and Mat Gamel, catcher Angel Salome and pitchers Tim Dillard, Amaury Rivas and Mark Rogers.