Cardinals, Schumaker Settle on Two Years

The St. Louis Cardinals and second baseman Skip Schumaker avoided arbitration, agreeing to a two-year deal.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Monday that second baseman Skip Schumaker has agreed to terms on a two-year contract, keeping the infielder in a Cardinals uniform through 2011 and avoiding salary arbitration.

The Associated Press reports that Schumaker will receive $2 million in 2010 and $2.7 million in 2011. The Post-Dispatch notes there are 2010 plate incentives that could increase the total contract value to about $5 million.

Schumaker was first-time arbitration-eligible and with this deal, his first two of three eligible years prior to free agency are now covered. In his official filing in preparation for arbitration, Schumaker asked for $2.75 million while the Cardinals offered $1.45 million. This gap was especially large for such a small base and may have encouraged the multi-year view.

Now unnecessary, Schumaker's hearing was to be held in St. Petersburg, Florida on the 19th of this month. Outfielder Ryan Ludwick was the only other Cardinals player who had been eligible for arbitration, but he settled on January 19.

Schumaker, who just turned 30 on February 3, successfully established himself as the Cardinals' second baseman last season despite having previously played his entire professional career in the outfield. In so doing, he became the first Cardinal since Red Schoendienst (1945-46) to move from the outfield to second base from one year to the next.

"Heading into spring training last year our club had uncertainties at both leadoff hitter and the second base position," said Cardinals' Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. "Skip answered both those questions. The transformation he made as an outfielder moving to second was truly remarkable and a testament to his dedication and athleticism. He is the kind of hard-working player that the Cardinals and our fans appreciate and we are thrilled to have with us for the next two years."

Schumaker started 124 games at second base last season while also playing games in each of the outfield positions (four starts, 56 games played). The lefthander hit over .300 for the third-straight season as his .306 batting average was ranked seventh among National League leadoff batters. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder also ranked seventh in the National League against right handed pitchers, batting .322, and he led the team with 15 games in which he had three or more hits.

Skip has a career .301 batting average in over 400 Major League games and 1300 at-bats. He has spent the last two seasons entirely at the Major League level, resulting in a .302 batting average that ranks in the top-25 among Major Leaguers during that time.

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