Skip Sold For Scrap
The inevitable happened late last night: Skip Schumaker, an integral part of the connective tissue of the Cardinal clubhouse during two World Series championships, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league shortstop Jake Lemmerman.
I particularly like how ESPN emphasized the deal in their headline: “Dodgers Acquire Skip Schumaker.” It almost sounds as if Skip was a commodity worth something, doesn’t it? If that’s what they meant, then they were right. New Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire pushed hard to get Schumaker because McGwire knows the intangibles that Schumaker brings to a team. A winning baseball team is more than a sum of statistics or dollar amounts; they also involve heart, courage, tenacity, and work ethic. Those are qualities Schumaker had in abundance, and now the Dodgers have brought that into their clubhouse.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals finally cast off big bad Schumaker. They apparently thought so little of Skip that they traded him for Lemmerman, a Double-A shortstop who managed to scrape together a .233 batting average last season. Defensively, Lemmerman is a lobotomized Ryan Theriot.
Lemmerman’s one and only claim to fame is ranking as the fifth best lay (out of 13) on the infamous Duke sex list from a few years back. So I guess that’s something. Although, judging by Lemmerman’s picture, I doubt if the female (or gay) Cardinal fans who loved the camera-ready Schumaker will care much about his replacement’s abilities in the sack.
In other words, the Cardinals sold Schumaker for scrap.
I suppose I understand that Mozeliak felt Schumaker didn’t have a place on the 2013 team. I also understand that, by dealing Schumaker for a shortstop, it appears that the team is trying to address a need.
But this deal really represents a staff misundertanding the difference between talent and statistics. I know that I will cringe every time Daniel Descalso plays second base next year, or when I see Shane Robinson (!) substituting in the outfield late in games.
In the meantime, we’ll always have this as a sweet memory:
[Skip Schumaker photo provided by http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/skip-schumaker]