Tigers To Designate Jonathan Schoop For Assignment

MLB Trade Rumors

The Tigers are designating veteran infielder Jonathan Schoop for assignment, reports Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free-Press. The club has yet to announce the move.

Once official, it’ll close the book on a nearly four-season tenure in the Motor City. The Tigers first signed the former All-Star second baseman to a $6.1MM pact heading into 2020. Schoop put up a quality .278/.324/.475 line over 44 games during the abbreviated season. Detroit brought him back on a $4.5MM guarantee the next winter, and the right-handed hitter put together another strong season.

Schoop played in 156 games and hit .278/.320/.435 with 22 home runs. As an impending free agent on a rebuilding Detroit club, he looked a logical deadline trade candidate. Instead, Detroit held him past the deadline and extended him on a two-year, $15MM deal in August. That contract contained matching $7.5MM salaries for 2022-23 and allowed Schoop to opt out after the first season.

The third contract did not pan out. Schoop’s offense has cratered. He hit .202/.239/.322 across 510 trips to the plate last year. He made the obvious call to return to Detroit rather than testing the open market. Hopes of a rebound campaign have been dashed by a nightmarish first half. Schoop hasn’t connected on a single home run and carries a .213/.278/.272 batting line over 55 contests.

Between the two seasons, he’s a .204/.248/.311 hitter. Among the 203 hitters with 600+ plate appearances since the start of last season, Schoop ranks last in on-base percentage and third from the bottom (above Nicky Lopez and Myles Straw) in slugging. Detroit has pushed him from everyday second base work into more of a platoon capacity, giving most of the recent second/third base reps to Andy Ibañez and Zach McKinstry.

Schoop is due a little less than $3.5MM from now through season’s end. No team is going to take on that money given his offensive struggles. He’s likely to be released within the next few days. Once he clears waivers, the Tigers would remain on the hook for the bulk of that sum. Any team that adds Schoop would owe him just the prorated portion of the $720K minimum for whatever time he spends on their MLB roster.

While he might be limited to minor league offers at that point, he should be of interest to clubs seeking infield depth. Schoop is still just 31 and was a career .262/.301/.448 hitter through the end of 2021. He can cover either second or third base and remains an excellent defensive option at the keystone, in particular.

Statcast credited Schoop as a staggering 21 runs above average with the glove last season. Defensive Runs Saved wasn’t quite so bullish but still rated him among the league’s best at +8 runs. He’s not likely to repeat quite so exceptional a defensive season, but both DRS and Statcast have pegged him a few runs above par in 160 2/3 second base innings this year as well.

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