We continue Red Reporter's player by player look at the 2015 Cincinnati Reds. We'll profile every player who got time for the Reds this year, and will imagine their tenure with the Reds going forward.
By The Numbers
268 PA, .242/.306/.336, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 76 OPS+
In 2014, the marquee, big ticket move the Reds front office made to solidify a 90 win team that had most recently fell flat on its face in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was to sign 33 year old Skip Schumaker. Skip was signed to a Walt Jocketty Veteran Presences Contract in that offseason, worth 2 years, $5 million dollars with a club option for 2016.
Skip Schumaker promptly lived down to all of his less-than-lofty expectations in 2014, including dislocating his shoulder in March, missing a month, and then ending the season on the DL while under going labrum surgery, Meanwhile, all of the rest of the notable Reds ended up crippled, the Reds literally limped to the finish and the whole season went to crap.
Correlation does not imply causation, of course.
How'd He Do?
The 2015 repaired labrum version of Skip Schumaker was better. Better is a relative term, obviously. In this case, it simply means that Skip Schumaker wasn't a total dumpster fire in 2015. Simply, Skip was just some extra fiery trash that was put on top of a Reds team that started that dumpster ablaze all on its own.
So, it wasn't all bad. Or, as bad. Skip posted a season OBP over .300 for the first (and only) time in his Reds career. Which, isn't great for a guy who's only redeeming quality when he was signed for two years in 2014 was finding himself on base, but this is where we are. He ended the season on a high note, as a matter of fact; September and October saw Schumaker record his most PA (61) and post by far his highest OPS (.800). We're dealing with particularly small sample sizes here.
But this is where we are.
Skip Schumaker led all pinch hitters this season with 19 hits in 78 tries. Which is good. He OPSed sub-.600 in that role, which is not good.
Look, it's easy to dump on Skip. We've been doing it for two full years. And there isn't a lot in the source material for 2015 that I can spin to make any of it look any better even if I wanted to (and I don't). But it's worth mentioning a few things, regardless of it sounding cliche: the people in the Reds clubhouse seem to love him. By all accounts, he's a great teammate and he's never not gone out there and done his damnedest to help the Reds win. The fact that he's doing that damnedest in the twilight (read: craptastic) portion of his career is not Skip Schumaker's fault. I challenge any of you to turn down Walt Jocketty if he calls you tomorrow and offers you $5 million dollars to do a job that you're fairly certain you can't do with any regular success.
Grit and hustle and "heart" and the will to win are easy to mock and certainly things that should be mocked. But, at this point, that mockery is better put to use directing it at those that value it. The ones that value it enough to give it $5 million dollars guaranteed.
As we learned earlier this week, the Reds declined their option on Skip Schumaker, paying him $500,000 to not play for the Reds. It's certainly possible that we've seen the last of Skip Schumaker as major league baseball player. I have a strong feeling that it won't be the last we see of Skip Schumaker in major league baseball.
Chance of making the 2016 Reds roster: 0.0%