DETROIT — Jonathan Schoop had hugs and warm smiles for his former teammates and friends after wrapping up batting practice Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park before grabbing his gear and heading off the field.
No, the infielder wasn’t saying goodbye to the Tigers. He was greeting the Orioles, who arrived at Comerica Park for a four-game series this weekend.
Schoop spent parts of six seasons in Baltimore before the O’s dealt him to Milwaukee at the Trade Deadline three years ago. He learned a lot about the business through that situation, and got a lesson about stress management. It’s why, as he heads into the final hours before this year’s Trade Deadline on Friday afternoon, he’s only sweating the summer weather, not his future.
“I’m not even thinking about that,” Schoop said. “You see me out there enjoying my teammates, hitting BP and just controlling things that I can control. The things I can control are to go out there and play hard to help my team win and enjoy the game. Whatever happens outside, I can’t control that. If I cannot control something, I don’t worry about that.”
Most likely, he won’t have to worry about a trade before Friday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. Much like last week, when general manager Al Avila noted how many quality players were on the market and driving down offers, the Tigers are more at this point likely to hold on to Schoop than trade him. Interest has been limited enough that the potential return hasn’t been worth the Tigers’ while to move him.
The White Sox moved on a division-rival second baseman, but acquired Cesar Hernandez from Cleveland — currently second in the American League Central — for unranked prospect Konnor Pilkington, a left-handed starter at Double-A. The Sox never showed serious interest in Schoop, according to a source. Other clubs are believed to have discussed Schoop as a fallback option — such as the Rays, before they traded for Nelson Cruz.
At this point, the Tigers appear more likely to keep Schoop and explore a possible contract extension with the 29-year-old, who’s eligible for free agency this fall after signing one-year contracts with Detroit the last two offseasons. Schoop, who hired Scott Boras as his agent earlier this year, said he isn’t sweating that either.
Schoop is focused on finishing strong, a lesson he learned from his struggles in Milwaukee after the trade in 2018. Though the Brewers won the National League Central that year and came within a game of reaching the World Series, the experience was rough enough on him that he doesn’t like thinking about it even today.
“It was hard,” he said. “I was surprised, especially when a team you’ve been with for a long time trades you. It got me stronger. I couldn’t control it, so why am I going to keep thinking about it today? The more you play, the more you learn.”
Schoop missed Wednesday’s series finale against the Twins with back tightness but was back in Detroit’s lineup Thursday. He was out of the field, serving as designated hitter, but manager A.J. Hinch said that had more to do with Miguel Cabrera starting at first base than it had with Schoop’s back.
“Just kind of rotating the DH around,” Hinch said.
Situations, of course, can change quickly in the final hours.
“The last 24 hours are always the busiest 24 hours,” Hinch said. “I mean, it may stay quiet for us; I don’t know about that. But you’re seeing action pick up around the league all over, and pieces are starting to move. So TV’s off in the clubhouse, phones in the lockers. [If] my phone rings, then we’ll make whatever move necessary. But on our team, we’re just trying to focus on the Orioles and catch up on the news when we’re inside.”