Jonathan Schoop has brought some much-needed power and consistency to the Detroit Tigers lineup this season. Though he won’t command a groundbreaking return, his services should be demanded at the trade deadline.
Jonathan Schoop has proved to be a valuable asset over the first part of the season. After signing a one year, 6.1 million dollar deal with the team last offseason, he has been exactly the player that the Tigers signed him to be. Site Contributor Jon Welter broke down his tools coming into the season.
Despite poor plate discipline that has led to a putrid walk rate below three percent, Schoop has hit the ball well. His .OPS of .833 ranks second on the team and his seven homers are a team-high through 28 games. Schoop often swings at bad pitches, but he also demolished mistakes. Just ask Adam Plutko and the Cleveland Indians.
Defensively, he has been consistent but unspectacular. He is sure-handed, committing only one error thus far, and his range grades out above-average for second basemen.
The total product is a 0.7 bWAR player through 28 games, a mark that translates to 4.1 bWAR across a whole season. For context, 4.1 bWAR in 2019 would have stacked up favorably to players like Whit Merrifield and Gleyber Torres. That is production that can help any contender, no matter their infield situation.
Why trade him?
Jonathan Schoop signed a one year contract with the Tigers last offseason, which means he will be a rental acquisition. Any team that trades for him will only have him for the rest of this season before he hits free agency again in the winter.
Many Tigers fans are beginning to get antsy about the rebuild now that top prospects Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and others are beginning to show up on their television. The reality for the Tigers is that Schoop likely won’t be wearing the Olde English D next season regardless of whether or not he’s traded at the deadline.
The Tigers have repeatedly shown the desire to fill roster holes internally and, with youngsters Willi Castro and Isaac Paredes ready for a full workload, it seems as though Schoop is not in their plans going into next year. There have been no indications from the team that Isaac Paredes could shift over to second base next season, but a move across the diamond would allow Jeimer Candelario to return to his home at third base, where he adds value defensively.
A recent article published by Mark Feinsand from MLB.com highlighted the seven players most likely to be traded at the trade deadline. Jonathan Schoop checked in at number four, the only Tiger on the list.
Feinsand listed the Dodgers, White Sox, and Athletics as possible destinations. All of these teams are playoff teams that are looking for a boost at the second base position.
The Dodgers have a lot of moving parts in their lineup. Veterans Kike Hernandez and Max Muncy have shared the majority of time at second base, but they have the versatility to play other positions as well.
The Dodgers are gearing up for an all-in run at the World Series Championship. Frankly, if you’re trying to win you can never have enough depth, and adding a player like Schoop only helps their cause. 24-year-old outfield prospect DJ Peters could interest the Tigers for his plus power potential.
The Athletics are trying hard to prove themselves as serious World Series contenders, but they have struggled to find consistency from the second base position. Once top-prospect Franklin Barreto has been unable to crack the lineup, even while second base regular Tony Kemp struggles to the tune of a .667 OPS.
Oakland’s second basemen have accumulated a combined -.5 bWAR thus far, a mark that Schoop would improve significantly. Interestingly enough, Barreto could interest the Tigers in a trade, considering he is clearly not trusted by the A’s management.
Chicago White Sox
A bit of a surprise team on the list, the White Sox have actually gotten pretty decent play at second base from rookie Danny Mendick lately. Top prospect Nick Madrigal struggled early before suffering an injury, but he is reportedly close to returning to game action. If the White Sox are nervous about relying on two rookies down the stretch, they could turn to a Schoop as an option.
Schoop is a solid major league player in the midst of a productive season. That being said, he is likely not a player that contenders view as a difference-maker in their playoff push. His status as a rental player certainly doesn’t help his value, either.
Tigers fans have seen firsthand how diluted the market can get for rental players at the trade deadline. Trades of rentals Mike Fiers, Nick Castellanos, and even JD Martinez in past seasons have failed to return any notable prospect value.
Schoop will not fetch the Tigers a top prospect from another organization. Even though the return for Schoop would likely include prospects that many Tigers fans have never heard of, that doesn’t mean it won’t be valuable. Look for the Tigers to focus on acquiring a high-risk, high-reward bat, a prospect profile that they lack in the upper minors.