It seems like fans and people around the game have already written off seeing Schoop anywhere with the Twins past 2019, but the question has to be asked, what if Jonathan Schoop returns to his 2017 form?
In 2017 Jonathan Schoop was one of the best second basemen in baseball. He ranked like this among them (min of 120 PA):
2nd in home runs (32)
1st in RBI (105)
10th in AVG (.293)
6th in SLG (.503)
8th in wOBA (.355)
8th in wRC+ (122)
5th in WAR (3.6)
Fielding wasn't as good but it was good enough to pass as long as you are hitting like he was.
14th in UZR (-3.2)
8th in DRS (0)
12th In FLD% (.981)
5th in 10-40% chance to make play (27.3)
Overall the hitting alone puts him in the top 5-10 second basemen in baseball. He is on the Twins and is a great player to have a potential bounce back campaign. The Twins were able to grab him as an under the radar pick up because he struggled so much in 2018. Obviously there is something with his swing that the front office was confident can be fixed. He was also dealing with a leg injury throughout all of 2018 that limited his abilities. So hypothetically if Schoop were to repeat 2017 or even be better, what would his outlook be for remaining on the Twins in 2020 and beyond? I think there are three options.
1.) Jonathan Schoop resigns on a multi-year contract and a middle infield prospect is traded.
2.)The Twins let him walk in order to make room for Lewis, Javier, Gordon etc.
3.)The Twins have a bad year and trade him at the deadline.
4.) Schoop resigns and moves to third, Polanco to 2B, Lewis/Gordon/Javier to SS and Sano to 1B
I think al of these options except number three could really work in the Twins favor. Recent contracts for second basemen have been looking like this:
D.J. LeMahieu 2 years $24 million
Jed Lowrie 2 years $20 million
Brian Dozier 1 year $9 million
Jean Segura 5 years $70 million
Dee Gordon 5 year $50 million
Andrelton Simmons 7 years $58 million
I would imagine that if Schoop can repeat 2017 or get even better that he would get somewhere around the Jean Segura deal of 5 years $70 million. Schoop will only be 26 or 27 so signing an impact second basemen into his early 30's couldn't hurt. I would imagine if he is resigned he will have to eventually have to move over to third base in order to make room for Royce Lewis and Jorge Polanco. The second option the Twins have will be to let him just go to free agency so the Twins keep their money and can spend it elsewhere. This wouldn't be a crazy move even if Schoop has a great year, just based on the fact that Royce Lewis, Wander Javier, Nick Gordon and others are in the minors.
Another possibility is one that would hurt the most but is still possible. The Twins could have another down year and swap Schoop for a few prospects. I would much rather see the Twins trading prospects for impact players at the deadline but we will just have to wait and see.
If Schoop is resigned it's likely he would play one more year at second base while waiting for someone like Royce Lewis to emerge. The infield would eventually be shifted all around and look something like Schoop at third, Lewis at shortstop, Polanco at second and Sano at first. . Four offensive weapons with slight defensive liability at 3 positions, but with great outfielders it balances out, right?
Overall I've never been so hyped or just excited about a one year contract for a player coming off a really bad year but Schoop could just be really good. If the Twins are right and they are able to pinpoint something he was messing up with his swing and get him back to his strengths, this $7.5 million contract could be a great deal.
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