We all knew it was coming. In fact, most people agreed it was a fair deal for both parties. If the Cardinals and Skip Schumaker could both be helped by a trade …
That doesn’t make the reality easier to grasp. I know, I’m looking at it through the emotions of a Cardinals fan who grows to love every guy that wears the uniform. Especially one like Skip who plays the game the right way, works hard, does whatever he’s asked, strengthens the clubhouse resolve and unity, and makes a difference in the community.
Baseball is a business, yes, but one that inevitably toys with the emotions. This prospective deal has been on the table since the end of the season, really. Where did Skip fit into the 2013 blueprint? Any way you slice it, he hardly fit at all. So when I saw the internet buzzing last night with the news that, pending a physical today, Skip Schumaker will be heading to LA and sporting Dodger blue, it was an odd thing to try to handle.
Schumaker has spent his entire nine-year career in St. Louis. He’s been present for two World Series victories, and five total playoff runs. There was, perhaps, no bigger moment for Skip than the RBI double that scored Rafael Furcal to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS. Yes, that game. That season. That at-bat. Ten pitches, and the biggest hit of his life? Probably.
It’s that kind of memory that makes it hard to let Schumaker go. But, his place with the Cardinals was limited. And even as a backup at second base and center field, he’ll likely see more playing time with the Dodgers. That’s all he wanted when his manager approached John Mozeliak about a potential trade. He didn’t want out of St. Louis, necessarily. He just wanted on to the field.
He appears to be getting more than that, though. This move will be a homecoming of sorts for the Schumakers, as Skip is from Southern California. Plus, Mark McGwire is there. Long-time friends, Schumaker and McGwire have worked together for years. If you’re going to have a new team, it’s definitely a plus to have a familiar face along for the ride.
Back to business for a moment — what did the Cardinals get in return, exactly?
Well … nothing of immediate impact, it would appear. As of last night, a Minor Leaguer “yet to be named” was on the other end of this business deal. Rumor has it this player is a short stop. That could be valuable next season or so, when Furcal can’t play every day. But for 2013, this doesn’t seem all too helpful. Which only makes the sting of losing a fan-favorite and a clubhouse leader hurt that much worse.
Neither party has offered comment on the deal to confirm. But, no matter who says what, the Cardinals have some big shoes to fill in the “good guy and a clubhouse leader” department. The impact of losing that will only be seen over time.
Best of luck to Skip and his family. We’ve loved having you on our side these last nine years! Here’s to continued success and happiness.
Tara is a St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball and a contributor to Around the Horn. Follow her on Twitter @tarawellman.