The Milwaukee Brewers will have a lot of decisions to make this offseason in hopes of making another run at a World Series appearance in 2019. One of those decisions will be whether or not it makes sense to bring back Jonathan Schoop.
With the MLB free agency period just around the corner the Milwaukee Brewers have the option to bring back second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who they acquired at the trade deadline from the Baltimore Orioles.
Schoop is still under team control for the 2019 season and is due just over $10 million, which is a hefty salary given his performance as a Brewer.
Although his time as a Brewer did not go as anyone would have hoped, it still could make sense for the Milwaukee Brewers to bring him back for one more season.
Schoop as a Brewer
As we approached the final minutes before the trade deadline, the Milwaukee Brewers acquiring Schoop was one of the last moves made by any team. The Brewers sent second baseman Jonathan Villar, right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz, and shortstop Jean Carmona to Baltimore for the rights to Schoop.
It was a move that most did not expect to happen. The Brewers had just acquired Mike Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals and he would be taking over as third baseman, while Travis Shaw would be moved to second base.
Schoop appeared to just add another player to an already crowded infield, forcing Shaw to split time, and not addressing a need for a starting pitcher that everyone thought was the biggest issue. But GM David Stearns went with the philosophy that you can never have too many bats in the lineup or on the bench at your disposal.
Unfortunately Schoop’s time as a Brewer was quite unproductive. His biggest moment in Milwaukee came when he hit a grand-slam off of Madison Bumgarner, but other than that, he struggled at the plate. In 46 games, Schoop recorded a slash line of .202/.246/.331, with four home runs and 21 RBIs.
Schoop appeared to be pressing at the plate and eventually played himself out of manager Craig Counsell‘s lineup. He was brought in to help make the post season run but in the playoffs Schoop had just eight at-bats, and five of those came in one game. He was a non-factor for this Brewers team.
Why Schoop should stay
Even though 2018 as a Brewer did not go well, the Milwaukee Brewers should still keep Schoop around for the 2019 season.
Yes, $10 million is a big price tag given the return Milwaukee received from Schoop in 2018, but the Brewers have room in their payroll, and it is just a one year deal, therefore no long-term risk to the team.
Also, Schoop will be a great filler at second base as the Brewers franchise awaits the arrival of Keston Hiura, who finished the season in Double-A Biloxi. We may see Hiura make his MLB debut in 2019 but it won’t be as the full-time starter, so Schoop will provide the organization a bridge to get Milwaukee to the 2020 season, where Huira can take over as the every day starter.
The Schoop that we saw as a Brewer is not who he has been throughout his career. 2018 was an outlier season, as most of his offensive categories were well below his career averages.
In his six-year career, Schoop has put together a slash line of .258/.294/.444 with 110 home runs and 333 RBIs. With almost certainty we can expect Schoop to play much better next season as water always finds its level and he works his way back to his career numbers.
Defensively, having Schoop will help solidify the Milwaukee Brewers infield. With Moustakas gone to free-agency, Travis Shaw can move back to his natural position at third base, leaving Schoop to take the every day role of second base. Schoop is still a better option as an everyday starter than Hernan Perez.
By no means did Schoop’s time in Milwaukee go well, in fact it was disappointing. But there is a lot of potential with him and no long-term commitment needed from the Brewers. Based on the current structure of their roster, Schoop gives Milwaukee the best chance to win and they should take a flyer on him for one more season.