The St. Louis Cardinals' second base situation is tenuous at best right now--the incumbent starter, Daniel Descalso, looks overmatched in a full-time role--so it might have seemed a little strange, at a glance, when they traded backup Skip Schumaker to the Dodgers for a shortstop, Jake Lemmerman, with little chance of seeing the major league roster in 2013. In the medium-term, though, the Cardinals were actually doing something important: They were clearing the path for top prospect Kolten Wong and filling in the minor league space he'll leave behind all at once.
Nobody doubts Wong is the Cardinals' second baseman of the future, and despite a rough finish to his 2012 season in AA he'll probably split the next year between AAA Memphis and a big league club desperate for middle-infield production. He and keystone partner Greg Garcia ensure the Cardinals have plenty of middle infielders in AAA Memphis, but a dearth of depth in the low minors means Lemmerman will have the AA starter's job all to himself. (In fact, according to Derrick Goold that's exactly the plan.)
Behind Lemmerman--well, behind him there still isn't a lot. 2012 fourth-rounder Alex Mejia could have moved quickly, but he tore his ACL in short-season ball last year; Quad Cities shortstop Matt Williams hit well, but not well enough to skip a level. The Cardinals reduced their depth in the short term, but if Kolten Wong can stick at second base in the near future this deal means they've added to the depth they'll have behind him.