NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cardinals utility man Skip Schumaker has informed the club that he would welcome a trade if they don’t envision giving him more regular playing time next season.
Schumaker, who fell out of favor with manager Mike Matheny and was rarely used down the stretch, hit .276 and had a .339 on-base percentage in 107 games last season.
Mozeliak confirmed Monday that Schumaker made his stance known via his agent early this offseason. The left-handed hitter has one year remaining on a two-year, $3 million deal he signed with the Cardinals last winter.
“There’s no doubt that the opportunity for him was somewhat limited over the last couple months of the season,” Mozeliak said. “So if something made sense, I’m sure we’d consider it.
“I did have a brief conversation with his agent early on about that. It wasn’t demanding or anything like that, but he did express that he is looking for perhaps a better place to get more opportunity.”
Mozeliak said there were teams interested in the outfielder but cautioned, “there’s still a very good chance Skip is on our club.”
Reached by text message Monday night, Schumaker told FOXSportsMidwest.com, “I’m open for a trade if they want to trade me. That decision is not up to me. I don’t have a no trade clause.”
Schumaker transformed into an adequate option at second base prior to the 2009 season but saw little to no playing time there down the stretch in 2012. Matheny went with the stronger defensive option in Dan Descalso despite him struggling much more at the plate.
Cardinals fans and media alike wondered why Schumaker wasn’t getting more playing time late in the season despite his stronger numbers at the plate. Matheny once became agitated during a pregame chat with reporters in which a series of repeated questions were asked about why Schumaker wasn’t playing.
The California native was a fifth round draft pick by the Cardinals in 2001 and first broke into the big leagues with them in 2005. He has a career .288 batting average in eight Major League seasons in St. Louis in 2,442 at-bats.
TRIO OF CARDINALS TO PLAY IN WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC
Participating players for several World Baseball Classic teams were announced Monday and at least three Cardinals will be leaving camp this spring to participate.
Catcher Yadier Molina and outfielder Carlos Beltran will play for team Puerto Rico while left-handed pitcher Jaime Garcia will suit up for Mexico.
Garcia’s name is somewhat surprising considering he’s currently rehabbing a shoulder injury and his availability and inclusion in the Cardinals starting rotation is thought to be a question mark heading into spring training.
But asked about Garcia’s name being on the list, Mozeliak said, “I’m encouraged that physically he feels like he can compete. In terms of making of that final decision that’s something we’ll speak with him and his agent about but right now I think it’s very positive news.”
The World Baseball Classic will begin March 2. Mozeliak said additional Cardinals players could be named to the team USA roster but wouldn’t divulge which ones.
HAIRSTON DRAWING INTEREST FROM CARDINALS
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reported Monday that the Cardinals are one of five teams to express interest in free agent outfielder Scott Hairston.
The 32-year-old hit .263 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI in 398 at-bats with the New York Mets last season. Hairston is also drawing interest from the Giants, Indians, Tigers and Yankees but would like to return to the Mets.
Hairston, a nine-year big league veteran, has a career .247 average, 95 home runs and 279 RBI with the Diamondbacks, Padres, Athletics and Mets.
The Cardinals have been looking to add a veteran right-handed bat off their bench and Hairston certainly would fit that profile. His 20 home runs in 2012 were a career high.
Mozeliak seemed to describe Hairston while speaking in general terms Monday, saying, “Clearly our bench last year was young so if we could find that veteran presence from the right side, I do think that would make sense for us.
“Obviously the more positions the player can play, the more flexibility he gives the manager. I think that’s desirable but I think the more critical part is the late-inning bat off the bench.”