By Josh Mosley
The annual free for all that is “Who is playing second base for the Cardinals” is at least over for now Skip Schumaker has been designated as the man at second when the Cards open up against Pittsburgh according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
If you aren’t a miserable chode like some fans tend to be, you’ll realize that there is good and bad to putting the Skipper at the 2 bag. He says he wishes to be an “average” player at the position. That would be par for the course when compared to the some of the yahoos La Russa put in there the last three seasons but I think he can be more. MUCH MORE!!!! Let’s delve into the reasons why because that’s why you continue to read the Swing:
Pro’s: When was the last time the Cardinals had a legitimate bat at second. Skip appeared in 153 games in 2008, batting .302 with eight dingers and 46 ribby’s. And that was as a part-time starter and utility man. He’s averaged .299 in four seasons in St. Louis, which is a stat I’ll take as manager and Bird observer. Adam Kennedy started half 87 of 162 games at second last year and batted a respectable .280. Aaron Miles, the one that Johnny Mo let go to those tools on the North Side of Chi town, batted .317 in 49 starts at second and would have been the likely heir apparent to the starting slot had he not bolted for the Cubs.
I liked Miles. To be more accurate, I preferred him to Kennedy for the simple fact that he was a less flaky bat. I know the other part of baseball is fielding, but this guy believes that one of the main reasons the Cards find themselves addressing this issue every winter is that they can’t find anyone to hit as effectively as they field. It’s like frat guys preying on sorostitutes. They want to find the girl who is equally hot and also less likely to squeal to her friends when said guy tries some sketchy shit. Got to cover them bases, baby!!!!
Either way, it’s a two-way game fellas, so if you got leather you should be able to handle the stick when you’re called on. And from what I can see, Skip has done an admirable job of trying both this spring. After a four error debacle a couple of weeks ago, dude has been steady with the glove and continued his reliable hitting. Plus, he’s not totally foreign to the infield. He played mostly the outfield in his last four seasons, but he was recruited to college ball as an infielder. Now comparing college and pro ball might not be valid but he comes in with a working knowledge of the spot. Count me in as a temporary believer.
Cons: It’s second base. And it’s the Cardinals. And over the last few years, those two have not mixed well. The last guy to play this position at any level above mediocre was Tony Womack in 2004 when they ran into the Red Sox buzzsaw. Womack batted .307 and swiped 26 bags that year but wasn’t much the same after. Before him it was Fernando Vina who, despite the fact that he admitted to shooting up on butt candy during his playing days, was a nice player. There hasn’t anyone like him since then.
He could fail miserably and the Cards are back at square one, which isn’t much to be proud of. But this could also be another one of “Tonic” Tony LaRussa’s grand experiments that works out for the best. As a player, I’ve always appreciated what Skip brought to the table. Let him on the field and get him some everyday PT and see what transpires. It could be worse.