Cardinals nearing two-year deal with Skip Schumaker

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Skip Schumaker is close to avoiding arbitration (and a possible non-tender) by signing a two-year contract with the Cardinals, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Last month general manager John Mozeliak indicated that Daniel Descalso would open the season as the Cardinals’ starting second baseman, but Schumaker’s presence means at the very least he’ll likely have to fight for the gig.

Jon Jay also seems fairly entrenched as the primary center fielder, but Schumaker could give him competition as well after starting over Jay at times during the World Series run.

Schumaker has one season of arbitration eligibility remaining, so a two-year deal would buy out his first season of free agency after the 31-year-old career-long Cardinal hit .283 with two homers and a .685 OPS in 117 games.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.