After the big ticket signings of the last two days, the additions of pitchers Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu, the Dodgers have made decidedly smaller news on Tuesday. The team has traded for utility man Skip Schumaker from the St. Louis Cardinals, per reports from both Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
The deal will be finalized once Schumaker passes his physical. Heading the other way in the trade is infielder Jake Lemmerman, who was drafted by the Dodgers in 2010.
Schumaker, who turns 33 in February, hit .276/.339/.368 in 107 games for the Cardinals in 2012, and in his career has hit .288/.345/.377 in parts of eight years in St. Louis. The left-handed batting Schumaker has played second base and all three outfield positions in his career, and fits the description of whom general manager Ned Colletti said he was looking for on Monday.
"If we could add somebody who could hit from the left side, especially with versatility, it's something we would look in to," Colletti said.
In his career, Schumaker has hit .305/.359/.403 against right-handed pitching, and hit .295/.357/.385 against right-handers in 2012.
He was born in Torrance, went to high school at Aliso Niguel High in south Orange County, and went to UC Santa Barbara.
Schumaker has one year left on his contract, which will pay him $1.5 million in 2013. That ties him with fellow utility man Nick Punto for the 21st-highest salary on the team, and that doesn't include Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones, no Hiroki Kuroda, all of whom will be paid more by the Dodgers next year but are no longer on the team.
Interest in Schumaker piqued in the winter meetings, and his former hitting coach Mark McGwire, now with the Dodgers, "prodded" Los Angeles to check in on the utility man who had lost playing time to Daniel Descalso, per Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
"We’re trying to optimize the type of return we might get for him," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told reporters last week, per Strauss.
That return is reportedly Lemmerman, who struggled with Double-A Chattanooga in 2012, hitting .233/.347/.378 with 29 doubles in 116 games. Lemmerman did show the highest walk rate of his career in 2012 (11.8%), with 55 walks in 449 plate appearances. The 6'1", 192-pound Lemmerman, who turns 24 in May, played exclusively shortstop until this year, when in addition to his 83 games at shortstop for the Lookouts he also played 28 games at second base and once at third.
To add Schumaker, the Dodgers will need to make a corresponding roster move to create space on the 40-man roster. Candidates to get designated for assignment include infielders Justin Sellers and Elian Herrera, pitcher John Ely, and outfielder Scott Van Slyke.