Let's assume Jim Edmonds passes his physical tonight and dons a No. 15 jersey for the Cubs tomorrow morning.
It's a signing by GM Jim Hendry that can either turn out to be lightning in a bottle or not much more than a lightning bug. If Edmonds works out great, the Wrigley Field faithful will accept and maybe even embrace this former hated St. Louis Cardinal. If not, it'll be a quick "see you later."
The Cubs face little financial risk in Edmonds, whom they'll pay about $284,000, with the Cardinals and his most recent team, the Padres, picking up the rest of his $8 million deal.
If Edmonds can play at all, he'll be the left-handed complement to Reed Johnson in center field. Padres people I talked to said it looked like Edmonds had little left in tank before they released him last Friday. Others said they felt he could get hot at any time.
In his day, Edmonds was a superb, if a little bit too showy, center fielder for the Cardinals and Angels. He played shallow and got back on the ball as well as anybody. His lifetime on-base percentage of .377 is another reason the Cubs are hopeful.
And whither Felix Pie? The Cubs' young center fielder will head back to Class AAA Iowa. My Cubs people tell me manager Lou Piniella would like Pie to work every day with minor-league hitting coordinator Dave Keller, who was up here last month working with Pie. The Cubs want Pie to get a better weight shift going and to react better to breaking pitches.
Edmonds is a player Cubs fans loved to hate over the years. If he plays well, they'll love him, perhaps reluctantly at first. If he flounders, expect loud boos at Wrigley Field, especially since his numbers are no better than Pie's right now. As for Pie, he'll be all right. People who wring their hands about this "ruining" the kid are overdoing it. If Pie has the inner strength, he'll come back from this fine.
Can't wait to see and hear the reception Edmonds gets tomorrow.