All-Star Edmonds agrees to 2-year deal with Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals agreed Friday to a $19
million, two-year contract with center fielder Jim Edmonds, their
first major move since winning the World Series.

The 36-year-old Edmonds had filed provisionally for free agency
on Nov. 2, awaiting a decision by the team on its $10 million
option, which carried a $3 million buyout.

"He's very excited, and the Cardinals are too," agent Paul Cohen said. "When you have two parties who ultimately want to accomplish the same thing and you have a history, then normally you can get it done."

St. Louis had until Saturday to exercise its option on the
eight-time Gold Glove winner. Instead, the sides agreed to a new
deal that calls for an $11 million salary next year and $8 million
in 2008. St. Louis will defer $3 million of his 2007 salary, paying
it in equal installments from 2010-19.

The deal reflects the Cardinals' satisfaction with Edmonds'
strong performance in the postseason on the heels of an
injury-plagued season that was his worst this decade.

"Jim has been a great Cardinal and one of the best players in
the game since he's been with us," team chairman William DeWitt
said. "We are pleased to have him back for the next two years."

Edmonds shook off physical problems that dogged him throughout
the regular season, leading the Cardinals with 10 RBIs in the
postseason. He went a month between starts due to post-concussion
syndrome and also had shoulder and foot injuries, batting .257 with
19 homers and 70 RBI -- his lowest totals since 1999.

General manager Walt Jocketty said the Cardinals would like to
have Edmonds finish his career in St. Louis.

"It wasn't a difficult decision," Jocketty said. "We wanted
to make sure he was OK. Obviously, he was in the month of

Edmonds batted only .156 against left-handers, leading manager
Tony La Russa to ponder at one point whether to platoon him in the
playoffs. During the postseason, Edmonds needed a daily numbing
injection in his left foot related to a problem caused by a bunion,
and may also need minor offseason shoulder surgery.

In the last six weeks of the regular season, he made only four

None of that held him back in the postseason. Edmonds homered
twice in the NL championship series and his two-run double off
lefty Nate Robertson provided the first runs in the Cardinals' 5-0
victory over the Tigers in Game 3 of the World Series.

Edmonds also made several nice plays in the outfield, topped by
a spectacular catch at the wall in Game 5 of the NLCS to rob the
Mets' Jose Reyes of extra bases.

Jocketty said Edmonds was "extremely happy" with the contract

"He came back strong physically and played well," Jocketty
said. "The two-year extension is something we felt we wanted to
try and do."

Since joining the Cardinals in a trade from Anaheim, Edmonds has
ranked in the top five in slugging percentage, home runs, RBIs,
doubles and batting average among all center fielders. He has
batted .288 with 229 homers, fourth on the franchise career list,
and 660 RBIs in 988 games with the Cardinals.

Edmonds won a Gold Glove in each of his first six seasons with
St. Louis. His injury-plagued 2006 ended that run.

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick and The Associated Press contributed to this report.