posted on December 14, 2012 00:00
The Skip Schumaker era is officially over in St. Louis. Apparently Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak took my advice and made a trade with the Dodgers but Mo forgot the other key players in the trade proposal I drew up earlier this week. Mozeliak shipped the 32-year-old Schumaker to Los Angeles in exchange for minor league shortstop Jake Lemmerman (no relation to David, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, ehhhhhhhhhhhh you got any gum?)
Many Cardinals fans are of the mindset that every position player needs to hit .300 with 20 plus home runs and drive in 80-100 RBIs. Schumaker didn’t fit that mold. He was 5 foot 10 and 195 pounds of grit and determination. That was never more evident than on October 7, 2011 during Game 5 of the NLDS with the Philadelphia Phillies. With Phillies ace Roy Halladay on the mound and Rafael Furcal on third base after leading off the game with a triple, Schumaker worked Halladay to a nine pitch at bat. On the tenth pitch, Schumaker laced a double to the right field corner before leaving the game in the third inning with an oblique injury. That RBI would prove to be the only run Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter would need that night as he outdueled Halladay in one of the most beautifully pitched games I have ever witnessed by two opposing hurlers. That game catapulted the Cardinals into the the NLCS and eventually the World Series which I need not remind you the outcome unless you were living in a cave somewhere.
When second baseman Adam Kennedy was released by the Cardinals in early 2009, Schumaker was approached by the club with a proposal. Since prized center field prospect Colby Rasmus was probably going to be the new starter, manager Tony LaRussa asked Schumaker to move to second base in order to keep his bat in the lineup. Schumaker worked hard every day taking ground balls at second base perfecting his craft. He was never going to be confused with Ryne Sandberg, but he brought his aggressive tenacity to the diamond to make sure he did everything possible in order to help his team be successful.In his first season as a second bagger, Schumaker made nine errors which is a testament to his hard work. Not bad for a man who hadn’t played the position since college.
Always the consummate professional, Schumaker never whined or put himself ahead of the team when it became evident that new Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was going in a different direction at second base. A few weeks ago, Schumaker’s agent Nez Balelo quietly asked Mozeliak to trade his client so he could have an opportunity to get more playing time. Mozeliak obliged him last night by shipping him to the West Coast. Schumaker will get a chance to compete with Mark Ellis for playing time at second. The Dodgers have come under much scrutiny for the money they spent on pitchers Zack Greinke and Korean import Hyun-Jin Ryu last week. A team can have all the stars in the world but you win on the field and not on paper as the Phillies found out in 2011. If a squad doesn’t have the right ingredients for their roster, there is certain to be discombobulation. Los Angeles General Manager Ned Colletti hopes that Schumaker is one of those ingredients. What seems like a minor move to some, might be the glue the Dodgers need to put them over the top.
Here’s wishing you all the best #55. I for one will miss the trademark headfirst slide into first on a ground ball and the constant adjusting of the batting gloves between each pitch. Thanks for eight wonderful seasons.
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