The Brewers will have a tough call to make on Jonathan Schoop following the infielder’s struggles in 2018, and general manager David Stearns opted not to tip his hand when it comes to tendering a contract to the arbitration-eligible slugger (link via MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy). “That’s a discussion that we’re going to have to continue to have here over the next couple of weeks to a month,” said Stearns. “…He has had really impressive stretches throughout his career, and unfortunately for both him and us, we didn’t see one of those stretches when he was a Brewer. We’ll sit down to see if we can determine why, and then we’ll go forward.” Schoop, 27, was one of the game’s most productive infielders in 2017 but turned in an awful .233/.266/.416 slash through 501 plate appearances this year — including a brutal .202/.246/.331 slash with the Brewers. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects him to earn a $10.1MM salary in 2019.
Here’s more from the NL…
- The Diamondbacks’ surprising new deal with versatile infielder Eduardo Escobar opens a plethora of options for the organization this offseason, The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan writes in an expansive look at the team’s options (subscription link). The move first and foremost indicates that the Snakes aren’t gearing up for a complete rebuild, but it does allow the team the freedom to shift some pieces around. Jake Lamb could head to first base in the event of an oft-speculated Paul Goldschmidt deal, Buchanan notes, or Escobar could find regular work at shortstop should Nick Ahmed be moved. If the team doesn’t subtract any pieces, he could even play second base in place of Ketel Marte, whom Buchanan reports has been discussed internally as a center field option. General manager Mike Hazen, who discusses the move at length in the column, made clear that Escobar will be in line for regular at-bats next season, even if the exact plan will obviously dependent on the remainder of the offseason. The 29-year-old Escobar hit .268/.327/.444 with the D-backs following a trade from the Twins and slashed .272/.334/.489 with 23 homers, 48 doubles and three triples on the season as a whole.
- While the Pirates haven’t given a firm indication as to whether they’ll exercise Jung Ho Kang’s $5.5MM club option for the 2019 season, MLB.com’s Adam Berry takes a look at the situation and suggests it’s quite possible that Kang will return for another season. General manager Neal Huntington recently suggested that the team and Kang may need to find a middle ground rather than bringing him back at the full $5.5MM value of the option — implying that the Pirates could pay a $250K buyout and bring Kang back at a lower guaranteed base salary. Berry also notes that it’s unlikely the team will move on from Colin Moran despite mixed results in his first season with Pittsburgh, citing a strong finish and defensive improvements over the course of the season (in addition to the fact that the Buccos acquired him as a key piece in the Gerrit Cole trade not even a year ago).