ST. LOUIS–After the St. Louis Cardinals faced much uncertainty heading into the 2009 regular season at second base, the club apparently felt as though Skip Schumaker would be a solid fit for the next two years. Schumaker, hit .303 with 4 home runs and 35 RBI in 153 games for the Cardinals in 2009. With his new two-year deal inked, Schumaker is due $2 million in 2010, and 2.7 million in 2011, and sources have reported that incentives in his contract could bring the deal to $5 million when it is all said and done.
Personally, I think this is a good move for the organization. Middle infielders are crucial to a team’s success, and Schumaker firms up a middle infield that includes Gold Glove-caliber players in Brendan Ryan at shortstop and Albert Pujols at first base. Although it was initially questioned, his move from outfield to second base showed the versatility of the 30-year-old California native. On several occasions, Schumaker showed his ability to go deep in the hole and make outstanding plays at second base for the Cardinals.
Despite the fact that Schumaker isn’t a power hitter, many second basemen aren’t. Perhaps more telling is his .364 on-base-percentage, which the Cardinals will most certainly appreciate, as Schumaker figures to hit leadoff in the 2010 season. Additionally, he hit into a double-play just 0.7% of his at-bats last season. Granted, that is perhaps skewed due to the fact that he is a leadoff hitter, but nonetheless, that’s a quick statistic to display his speed and hustle.
Defensively, however, is where the Cardinals seem to see Schumaker’s potential contributions being maximized over the next few years. In fact, in his career, Skip has started 124 games at second base, he was in the top ten in the NL in many defensive categories, including double plays, assists, and total chances.
It should be interesting to see how the contract works out, however one thing is sure: if Schumaker can make an impact on the team, there is the prospect that he could be one of the National League’s top bargains in 2011.