St. Louis has until Nov. 11 to decide on the option. If the Cardinals decline, Edmonds would receive a $3 million buyout, payable as part of the deferred money in his contract, which he will receive each December from 2010-19.
Edmonds hit .257 with 19 homers and 70 RBI this year for the World Series champions, but the four-time All-Star was limited to 110 games, primarily because of a concussion. He had two homers and 10 RBI during the postseason.
He was among 13 players who filed for free agency, raising the total to 161. About 30 more are potentially eligible to file by the Nov. 11 deadline.
Cardinals pitcher Mark Mulder, who had surgery in September to repair a partially torn rotator cuff, also filed, as did Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Kenny Lofton, San Diego catcher Mike Piazza and San Francisco outfielder Steve Finley.
Free agents can start talking money with all teams beginning Nov. 12.
Also on the free-agent market is South Korean center fielder Byung Kyu Lee. A member of South Korea's team in the World Baseball Classic last spring and a two-time Olympian, Lee, 32, has won one batting title and been honored six times for fielding excellence in his home country.