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12/15/07 12:53 PM ET

Cards deal Edmonds for prospect

Veteran center fielder yields infielder Freese from Padres

ST. LOUIS -- The dean of the Cardinals is on his way out the door.

The Cardinals finalized a trade on Saturday that will send Jim Edmonds and cash to the Padres in exchange for infield prospect David Freese. Edmonds, 37, is a Southern California native, but has played in St. Louis since the start of the 2000 season.

Edmonds has full 10-and-five no-trade protection as a result of having 10 years' Major League service time, including the past five with the same team. However, he hails from Orange County, Calif., making San Diego an appealing destination. Edmonds has hinted that 2008, the final season on his current contract, could be his last year in the big leagues before retirement.

Freese, who will turn 25 in April, was selected in the ninth-round of 2006's First-Year Player Draft. After an impressive pro debut split between short-season Eugene and low Class A Fort Wayne, he had a big year at high Class A Lake Elsinore in his first full pro season. Freese hit .302 with a .400 on-base percentage, a .489 slugging percentage, 17 home runs, 69 walks, 96 RBIs and 102 runs scored.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, manager Tony La Russa, and Edmonds' agent, Paul Cohen, were not available for comment late Friday night.

The move leaves the Cardinals with five outfielders: Chris Duncan, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker, and recent Rule 5 Draft selection Brian Barton. Edmonds' departure would likely hasten the arrival of top prospect Colby Rasmus, a center fielder who spent all of 2007 at Double-A Springfield.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.