It appears the Cardinals are going to seriously try to convert outfielder Skip Schumaker to second base during spring training.
And that just goes to prove what a poor effort the team is making to put the best team possible on the field.
Schumaker is an excellent defensive outfielder. But second base is arguably the hardest postition on the field to learn to play. You have to know where to postition yourself, have perfect timing to turn double plays, have the coordination to avoid sliding baserunners and it takes years of practice to learn how to make diving stops then get to your feet and throw in one motion. So why would the team want to take one of its best two or three defenders in the outfield and move him to a position with which he is not familiar? Second base is one of the most important defensive spots. And it is disturbing that the Cardinals are willing to take it so lightly.
The argument is that the Birds have too many outfielders and not enough middle infielders. But that's not a good reason for the move because there are a lot of more practical solutions. At the top of my list would be going out and getting a better second basemen off the free agent market.
Talk is that Orlando Hudson's price has dwindled to $4 million for a single season. That's what the Cardinals are paying Adam Kennedy -- not exactly a bank busting proposition. Given that the Redbirds are about $17 million beneath the budget they set at the beginning of the off season, that wouldn't seem to be a problem.
If Schumaker plays second base, that means there is more time in the outfield for Chris Duncan and Brian Barton. Those guys are terrible fielders so the defense will be even further weakened. The Cardinals have always taken pride in being one of the best defensive teams in baseball. But it is going to be able to live up to that standard when you have an outfielder at second, Duncan or Barton in left and possibly Brett Wallace -- a barely passable third baseman -- filling in for Troy Glaus for the first month or two of the season.