With the deadline approaching to offer him a contract for 2012, the St. Louis Cardinals and utility fielder Skip Schumaker are close to completing a two-year deal, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.
The deal would give Schumaker security for two years in exchange for one year of his free agency.
Schumaker, the Cardinals' regular second baseman who started World Series Game 7 in center field, will return to the only team he's known instead of facing arbitration or being set loose into free agency.
Schumaker hit .283 in 117 games in 2011 with a .333 on-base percentage and a .351 slugging percentage. Schumaker, who turn 32 before the start of spring training, has spent seven seasons with the Cardinals and has a .290 career average.
A left-handed hitter, Schumaker offers the team an extra outfielder off the bench, a potential starter at second or in center, and a candidate to lead off.
The deadline to offer arbitration-eligible players contracts for the 2012 season is tonight. The Cardinals must yet make decisions on presenting contracts to Jason Motte, Kyle McClellan and Ryan Theriot. This is the first time in his career that Motte, who ended the season as the team's closer, is eligible for arbitration.
More this afternoon at STLtoday.com.