The need for starting pitching has been at the forefront of the offseason plans for the Minnesota Twins, but upgrading the talent level in the infield has to be a secondary priority as well. Reports have already suggested they want to bring in competition for third baseman Trevor Plouffe, and there is a need to add some depth in the middle infield as well.
Multiple teams have been reported to have interest in making a trade for Skip Schumaker, with the most recent speculation suggesting the Twins are among those teams. Schumaker has spent his entire major league career to this point with the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting .288 with 340 runs scored, 211 RBI and a .345 on-base percentage over nearly 2,700 total plate appearances.
Schumaker’s main attribute is his versatility, as he has played second base and all three outfield spots during his eight major league seasons. His role with the Cardinals was diminished some late in the 2012 season, as he saw just 60 plate appearances over the final 25 games with Daniel Descalso taking over as the team’s starting second baseman. Schumaker’s salary for next season, $1.5 million in the final year of his contract, will not be a roadblock to getting a trade done if the Cardinals are seriously fielding offers.
The left-handed hitting Schumaker looks like a perfect platoon player, with a .305 career batting average against right-handed pitching coupled with a Mendoza-esque .205 career average against left-handers. He would likely compete for playing time at second base in Minnesota, and he could also be in the mix to see time in center field with Denard Span and Ben Revere recently departing via trades.
Trading for Schumaker would be a low-risk acquisition for Twins general manager Terry Ryan, and it would certainly not take a top minor league prospect or a high-level big league player to get him. But with the team not necessarily likely to return to contention in 2013, just where a 32-year old (33 by the time the season starts) bench player fits is unclear if Schumaker does not earn a clear-cut starting job.