3:39pm: The trade is official.
3:09pm: The Brewers and Orioles agreed to a last-minute deal that will send infielder Jonathan Schoop from Baltimore to Milwaukee just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (on Twitter). Right-handed pitching prospect Luis Ortiz is among the players going back to Baltimore in the deal, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter link).
It’s no surprise that the Brewers made a move to upgrade at second base, and it’s one that could benefit the team beyond this season. After all, Schopp – who’s on an $8.5MM salary this season – has another year of arbitration eligibility remaining.
After breaking out in 2017 with a .293/.338/.503 line, 32 home runs and a 3.8 fWAR in 675 plate appearances, Schoop has taken steps backward this season. The 26-year-old has slashed a below-average .244/.273/.447 with .7 fWAR over 375 PAs, though he has gone on a home run-happy tear of late to raise his numbers to more respectable levels. Schoop now has 17 homers after mashing seven long balls since July 20.
While Schoop’s overall production has been pedestrian this year, it still easily outdoes the .231/.288/.351 showing Brewers second basemen have compiled in 736 PAs. That obviously wasn’t going to cut it for Milwaukee, which is currently in wild-card position and trails the NL Central-leading Cubs by a game. Villar was part of the problem over the past year and a half for the Brewers, with whom he had a great season in 2016. Now 27, Villar has scuffled to a .248/.302/.374 line with 17 HRs in 715 PAs dating back to 2017, essentially making him a replacement player, though he has stolen 37 bases in that span (including 14 on 16 tries this year). He’ll provide the rebuilding Orioles an immediate successor to Schoop and could be a multiyear piece for the club, which will owe him the rest of a $2.55MM salary in 2018 and could control him via arbitration through 2020.
For now in Milwaukee, Schoop will add to an already crowded infield picture. The team just reeled in third baseman Mike Moustakas last week, forcing Travis Shaw to second. Unlike Moustakas and Shaw, Schoop is a right-handed hitter, though all three have struggled against southpaw pitchers both this season and throughout their careers.
In addition to Villar, Baltimore picked up a pair of prospects who ranked in the top 15 of Milwaukee’s above-average system at MLB.com. Ortiz (No. 7) is a 22-year-old who has worked to a 3.71 ERA/3.85 FIP with 8.6 K/9, 2.38 BB/9 and a 48 percent groundball rate in 68 Double-A innings this season (16 appearances, 11 starts). Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com posit that Ortiz has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter.
As for Carmona (No. 14), the two prospect gurus write that he “has all the components needed to become an impactful player at the highest level.” Still just 18 years old, Carmona has hit .239/.298/.406 in 172 PAs at the Rookie level this season.
For Baltimore, the removal of Schoop from its roster is the latest significant move with the team in the early stages of a rebuild. The Orioles have also dealt shortstop Manny Machado, relievers Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Darren O’Day, and starter Kevin Gausman this month, thus revamping their roster in a last-place season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.