Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported on Saturday that the Detroit Tigers have inked free agent second baseman Jonathan Schoop to a one-year deal worth $6.1 million. The deal reportedly includes some performance bonuses, and should lock in Schoop as the Tigers full time second baseman in 2020.
The 28-year-old Schoop had a decent 2019 season for the Minnesota Twins, appearing in 121 games as they won the American League Central division. He was worth 1.3 fWAR in essentially three-quarters of a season, cracking 23 home runs with a respectable .324 wOBA and solid defensive work to boot.
Schoop came up in the Baltimore Orioles system and debuted in 2013. He was their full time second baseman until they dealt him to the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2018 trade deadline. He’s smacked 133 home runs in his six year career but a lack of walks and a modest career batting average of .257 have left him a roughly league average hitter overall with subpar on base percentages.
Still this is the kind of modest move Tigers fans have been realistically hoping for, and we’ll continue to beg the Tigers for another solid signing to help put a decent roster on the field next season. Schoop isn’t going to wow anyone, but he’s a decent major league caliber player who should provide some much needed power to the middle of the batting order. As the Tigers don’t currently have a dedicated second baseman on the roster or due to arrive from the farm system, Schoop won’t be blocking anyone and is a candidate to be flipped at the trade deadline, though the return is unlikely to be particularly impactful.
General manager Al Avila has repeatedly claimed that the Tigers would pursue some legitimate assistance for the lineup this offseason. The signing of catcher Austin Romine, and now Schoop, will help to a modest extent. If the Tigers can land one bat with the potential for real impact, the 2020 Tigers should be substantially more fun and watchable as they wait for their top prospects to mature.
Update: To clear roster space for the Schoop and Cron signings, 1B Brandon Dixon has been designated for assignment. The 40-man roster is now full.