"Parting with a player, who for so long has been the face of your organization, is a crossroads nearly every club reaches," said Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak. "It's never an easy decision, however we feel that this deal will not only provide us greater roster flexibility, but it also netted us a terrific prospect in David Freese and it allows Jim the opportunity to play closer to family and friends as he approaches the end of his playing career."
Edmonds ranks fourth on the Cardinals all-time list for home runs (241), hitting a career-high 42 in both 2000 and 2004. He was a part of six Cardinals playoff teams, including the 2006 World Championship club.
"I would like to thank Jim for his eight tremendous seasons as a Cardinal," said team Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. "Jim provided Cardinals fans with some of the most memorable moments in Cardinals history during his career in St. Louis. He will be remembered not only for his all-around great play, but also his many contributions to the St. Louis community."
Freese, 24, graduated from Lafayette (Mo.) High School before attending Meramec Community College and the University of South Alabama, where he was drafted by the Padres in 2006 after being named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.
The 6-3, 225-pound infielder enjoyed a solid all-around season in 2007, batting .302 with 17 homers and 96 RBIs for Lake Elsinore of the California League (High-A) while earning league All-Star recognition.
The right-handed hitting Freese has compiled a .307 batting mark, .399 on-base pct. and a .516 slugging pct. in his first two professional seasons, adding 166 RBIs in 199 games. He ranked 5th among California League leaders in total bases (246) this season and 7th in RBIs.
Mozeliak pointed to his desire to create greater roster flexibility by dealing from an area of depth and in turn using that flexibility to assist in addressing the team's need for starting pitching. "We consider our outfield depth to be a strength, and even more so in center with players such as Rick Ankiel, Skip Schumaker, Brian Barton, Ryan Ludwick and eventually Colby Rasmus," said Mozeliak. "Our primary focus remains on upgrading our starting pitching and an important part of today's deal is the additional flexibility it provides."