Why Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch appreciates Jonathan Schoop’s response about future

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch wishes he could take away the phones of everyone in his clubhouse at this time of the year, as general manager Al Avila works his own phone to see if the organization can find a trade offer worth entertaining.

The trade deadline is Friday.

“It’s not a huge topic for us,” Hinch said Saturday. “We’ve done a good job, especially the guys that get rumored about. You talk about bullpen pieces or (Jonathan) Schoop gets talked about a lot. People wonder outside this clubhouse more than inside this clubhouse. Our guys that are being talked about are doing a good job of just playing the game and not making it a big deal.”

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One player in particular, Schoop, has stood out, both in trade rumors and his ability to stay focused on the game. He opened up to a pair of reporters, including the Free Press, about the trade deadline, his long-term future and his decision to hire Scott Boras as his agent.

Schoop conveyed he wants to be with the Tigers moving forward in his career, after spending the 2020 and 2021 seasons in Detroit.  He’s on an expiring contract — signing a one-year deal for $4.5 million this offseason — but  wants an extension.

He wants to win with Hinch.

“The only thing he said about it is that he wants to be a Tiger, and I think that matters,” Hinch said. “I appreciate his willingness to say that. He also understands the nature of the game when you’re in the last year of your deal and you’re doing really well and teams want to hit on you and potentially acquire you, he’s made it perfectly clear that he wants to be a Tiger. I think that matters.”

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When asked, Avila wouldn’t say if he would offer Schoop an extension.

Schoop is hitting .290 with 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, 23 walks and 83 strikeouts in 95 games, on pace for his best results since his 2017 All-Star season for the Baltimore Orioles. He is a .262 hitter across his nine-year career, which spans 941 games.

Schoop notched his 900th career hit in Wednesday’s win over the Texas Rangers.

“Jonathan is one of the best guys that shows up to work every day and does his job,” Hinch said. “He’s super happy every day. He doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low. He just comes in and does his job. He’s got a great demeanor and great personality in and around our club.”

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter

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