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.