The Detroit Tigers are “in agreement” with free agent second baseman Jonathan Schoop, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. It’s a one-year deal worth $6.1MM plus performance bonuses for Schoop, a client of VC Sports Group. Rosenthal notes that the Tigers plan on utilizing Schoop in the middle of the order as their everyday second baseman. The Tigers have announced the deal.
Schoop stays in the American League where he has spent his entire career save the couple months in Milwaukee following the 2018 trade deadline. He enjoyed a bit of a return to form with the Twins last season, though come playoff time, the Twins turned to rookie Luis Arraez to man the keystone.
On the one hand, the Twins are probably satisfied with the return they got from Schoop on a one year, $7.5MM base deal. He put forth a .256/.304/.473 line with 23 home runs in 464 plate appearances, amassing 1.8 bWAR/1.3 fWAR. The 28-year-old graded out as an average or slightly below-average defender at second base by UZR and DRS.
On the other hand, a slight pay cut likely signals that teams aren’t seeing the upside that once accompanied Schoop, whose 5.2 bWAR season in 2017 with the Orioles suggested superstar potential. That season seems more and more anomalous the further it moves in the rearview.
Still, a 100 wRC+ pegs him right around league-average as an offensive contributor. Schoop will likely join with Niko Goodrum to form the everyday double play duo in Detroit next season, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck. The pair certainly offers a higher-upside play than the veteran duo of Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison that started up the middle on Opening Day of 2018.
The move also buys development time for Willi Castro and Sergio Alcantara. Castro struggled mightily in his first taste of the big leagues, hitting just .230/.284/.340 in a 30-game sample. He’ll be in the infield mix this season, but Schoop gives the Tigers the flexibility to be patient with a young group of position players prospects.