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Tigers sign two-year extension with Jonathan Schoop

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If you were looking for real signs that they’re going to give themselves a shot to compete in 2022...

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers announced on Saturday that they’ve agree to a two-year extension with infielder Jonathan Schoop. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the deal is worth $15M, and contains a player opt out clause after the 2022 season.

Schoop was a journeyman second baseman who’d never put together back-to-back offensive seasons before the Tigers inked him to a one year deal prior to the 2020 season. Not much was expected, but the 29-year-old from Curacao put together a good season and was re-signed for one year at $4.5M. He’s emerged as a veteran leader in 2021, the heart and soul of a group that has wildly exceeded expectations for much of the season to date.

We don’t really love the opt out here, but otherwise the terms are fine. Schoop did not have much interest from other teams last offseason, so presumably he’d need a massive 2022 season to really boost his value and use the opt-out. A three million dollar per year raise for two seasons is a substantial bump, but it’s still a bargain, particularly as Schoop has really gelled with the organization and become a leader in the clubhouse and an asset off the field for AJ Hinch and his coaching staff.

The free agent deal is now the largest of the Chris Ilitch era, eclipsing Robbie Grossman’s two-year, $10M contract signed last offseason.

Currently, Schoop has 18 home runs and a 117 wRC+ over 456 plate appearances. His defensive marks at first base are still a little below average, but it is a relatively new position for him. Meanwhile, he remains very capable at second base as well, and gives the Tigers some versatility in an infield that sorely needs some additional offensive firepower.

The extension seemed likely as soon as the July trade deadline passed without a trade. Holding onto Schoop only to let him go to free agency—having recently switched representation to Scott Boras, no less—wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. And as a result of this news, it becomes a little easier to buy the notion that the Tigers will actually spend this offseason. Much more will be required to make that a possibility, of course.