Just earlier today the St. Louis Cardinals in general and John Mozeliak in particular were basking in the remaining goodwill from a sizable minority of online Cardinals fans who lauded the team’s tough and ultimately fruitless negotiations with Albert Pujols as a sign that Mozeliak had taken control of the organization from the dugout, that the post-Tony-La-Russa era was underway. Less earlier today, all that goodwill evaporated at once when Derrick Goold broke the news: The Cardinals would be signing Skip Schumaker to a new two-year contract, avoiding, as Goold tactfully puts it, Schumaker’s first year of free agency.
So there’s that. Schumaker is actually coming off a surprisingly useful year, after his awful 2010; the lower offensive context across baseball in 2011 made his slap-happiness more useful than ever, and the extra 20 points of batting average he regained certainly didn’t hurt. But at 32 Schumaker can no longer be expected to improve at second base, and he was never a particularly good center fielder to begin with. In addition to being a defensive liability wherever he plays, then, he also duplicates both expected starters, now that the Cardinals have left-handed slap-hitters Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso ahead of him on the depth chart.
Worst of all, online Cardinals fans will have to admit that all that white-slap-hitter angst they’ve been offloading to the ostensible scrapmaster Tony La Russa all this time wasn’t as clearly his fault as we expected.