The Detroit Tigers have resigned second baseman Jonathan Schoop to a one-year contract worth $4.5 million according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The reunion gives the team a veteran presence in the infield with a dwindling selection of options on the free agent market, and at a price tag that fits the club’s shrinking payroll.
Schoop posted a respectable slash line of .278/.324/.435 for a weighted on-base average of .340 and a wRC+ of 114 (100 being average) with 8 home runs in 177 plate appearances. He was one of the few position players on the team who performed above league average at his position, appearing in 44 games and finishing the season on the injured list with a sprained right wrist.
Defensively, Schoop was nominated for a gold glove award, although he has posted a DRS (defensive runs saved) exactly average at 0 for the 2019-2020 seasons. In prior seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, he was very much a plus defensive player at the keystone position. He rejoins an infield that features young players Jeimer Candelario, Isaac Paredes, Willi Castro, and Niko Goodrum.
There was some speculation that the club might move Paredes from third base to second, but this signing would appear to put those plans on hold, at least for the time being.
Schoop tallied more home runs than any Tiger except Miguel Cabrera and a higher WAR than all but Candelario. Cabrera is reportedly itching to don the glove at the first base, where Candelario finished out the season last summer after CJ Cron hit the injured list early in the season. Manager AJ Hinch is open to the idea, much to the chagrin of Tigers’ fandom.
Schoop is 29 years old, and a veteran with seven-plus years of major league service time. His salary will be the fourth-highest on the team payroll, after Cabrera, pitcher Matt Boyd and outfielder Robbie Grossman, who inked a two-year deal for $5 million per season earlier this winter. Schoop is the first Tigers’ starting position player to be brought back as a free agent the following season since Victor Martinez returned on a four-year deal in 2014.
In a corresponding move shortly after the signing, the Tigers designated Travis Demeritte for assignment to make room for Schoop on the 40-man roster.
The Tigers have designated outfielder Travis Demeritte for assignment to make room for Jonathan Schoop on the 40-man roster.— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) February 5, 2021
In other transaction news, Sergio Alcántara, who was designated for assignment to make room for catcher Wilson Ramos, has been claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs. The glove-only shortstop was acquired when JD Martinez went to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the trade that keeps on giving nothing.