Skip Schumaker was clearly fading out of the St. Louis Cardinals' infield picture in 2012, where a hot start with the bat wasn't enough to keep him ahead of Daniel Descalso on the depth chart, so Tuesday's Los Angeles Dodgers trade was more a formality than a shift in thinking. But Schumaker's exit confirms that the Cardinals will go into 2013--at least as things stand now--with Pete Kozma or Ryan Jackson backing up Daniel Descalso at second base.
Which isn't exactly reassuring--Kozma was a mess at the plate in AAA before his remarkable major league run, and Jackson's defensive prowess is wasted at second. That is, in making the Cardinals' major league infield picture clearer, it also makes it clear that the Cardinals need a little help in the infield, even if they don't think Schumaker was it.
That probably means a free agent or a trade, although the Cardinals are quietly trying to turn Matt Carpenter into the next Skip Schumaker. Ideally the Cardinals would find someone able to play both second base and shortstop--something Schumaker couldn't do, and which they seemed increasingly wary about with Descalso. But Schumaker's marginalization suggests that whoever their replacement is, he'll be more defense-first.