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Skip Schumaker slid headfirst into a 2-year, $4.7  million extension. Seems like a nice enough deal for both sides. Let’s crunch some numbers and see just how good this deal really is.

Rally had Skip at 1.5 WAR in ’09.  FanGraphs had him at 1.2. For whatever reason, UZR dinged him for -5 runs in 82 innings played in left field. While I’m sure his outfield skills may have been a tad rusty from playing the infield, -5 over a handful of games just doesn’t pass the sniff test, especially considering Skip has been neutral over his career in LF. I’d just assume we throw that number out and call Skip’s ’09 at 1.7 WAR. If we add in his non-steals base running (EQBRR-EQSBR) and that pushes him up to 1.9 WAR, meaning Skip was about an average player last year. Not bad for a guy swimming upstream the defensive spectrum.

I admit it. I was among the many who were not Skip-to-the-Keystone believers. Sending Adam Kennedy packing struck me as a pretty stinkin’ impulsive thing to do. I expected Schumaker at something like a -15 run defender at 2B. As it turns out, he wasn’t half bad. Plus/Minus had him at -8. UZR also had him as a -8. The Fans had him at -2. If you do like a 4-3-2 regression of UZR/Dewan/Fans, Skip shakes out at -6 runs. Steve’s projections have Schumaker at -5 next year.

Next year! Let’s take a look at what we can estimate for Schumaker in 2010.

Batting Wins Above Average (.336 wOBA, league wOBA .334): 1 run
Defensive Wins Above Average: -5 runs
2B Positional Adjustment: 2.5 runs
Replacement Level: +23.3 runs
—————————————–
= 21.8 total RAR per 700 plate appearances (21.8/700 *590 PA) = +1.8 WAR

Right now the free agent market is paying $3.7M per implied win. In his first two years of arbitration, Schumaker should get 40% and 60% of his market value.  Estimating a bit of regression and some inflation, Skip’s cover price for Schumaker is$6M, the Cardinals paid sale price of $4.7.  Good deal.

So as it turns out, the Cardinals um, “innovative thinking” was pretty innovative after all. Moving a player who hits like a middle infielder to the middle infield isn’t such a bad idea, if/when you know the player has the spunk to do what it takes to make it work.

Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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2 Responses to “Schu Money”

  1. A guy that works as hard as Skip does seems capable of doing about anything. With continued defensive progress at 2nd, I think he will go from a 4th OF/bench guy to a solid everyday player with the potential of a long career.

  2. Last year at this time I couldn’t have been more against trusting 2b to a lifetime reserve outfielder. Then the “gritty” little sucker goes out and does a better job defensively than anybody could expect and improves throughout the year. It stands to reason that the defensive improvement will continue and that he might make some minor offensive progress as he’ll be able to devote more effort in that direction. So now I’ve talked myself into thinking this may be an even better deal than Erik and Danup over at Viva think. I’m probably wrong again but right now I’m really happy to have the position covered for the next couple of years.

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