The Cardinals have re-signed Skip Schumaker to a two-year deal, preventing the career St. Louis player from becoming a free agent.
The question is what will the Redbirds do with a natural outfieler that they've played out of position in recent seasons at second base.
According to general manager John Mozeliak, the Cardinals would prefer to improve their defense at second and second year player Daniel Descalso seems like the most likely person on the current roster to get the starting nod. And Schumaker would make a lousy platoon player with Descalso since they are both lefty hitters.
If Schumaker is going to be part of the outfield picture, that makes me really wonder if the Cardinals will pursue another outfield bat, specifically Carlos Beltran.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
While Schumaker's deal is said to be for less than the two-year contract he just complted, I'm not sure if the Birds needed to make a considerably investment in a fifth outfielder. They already have Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Allen Craig in the picture (when Craig comes back from a knee injury shortly after the start of the season.) Beltran or a similar bat would likely be shuffled into the rotation as a quasi starter. That puts Schumaker in the fifth spot -- and knocks rookie Adron Chambers who impressed in limited playing time late in the 2011 campaign -- on the outside looking in.
Mozeliak described Schumaker as a super utility sort. But he can only play in the outfield or at second base. I'd suspect a person in that role -- especially with the Cardinals' roster concerns -- would have to offer a little bit more flexibility than that. Skippy offers no depth at shortstop or third base.
If the Birds are thinking about trying to sign Beltran, this move doesn't make a lot of sense. But the club had to make a decision by today or face the possibility of losing Schumaker as a free agent. Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be wasted money.