The Milwaukee Brewers on Friday decided to non-tender second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
Jonathan Schoop’s Milwaukee Brewers career went by in the blink of an eye. He was acquired on July 31st from the Baltimore Orioles, and now non-tendered on November 30th. His tumultuous Brewers tenure lasted only four months.
Schoop is now an unrestricted free agent and is able to sign with any team. The market for his services will certainly be interesting.
Why Was Schoop Non-Tendered?
There are several reasons why Schoop was non-tendered. He played poorly in Milwaukee, doesn’t really fit the offensive profile the Brewers want, and would be owed too much money.
In his 46 games with the Brewers, Schoop slashed an abysmal .202/.246/.331 with only four home runs, seven walks, and 41 strikeouts. His strikeout rate jumped from 20% with the Orioles, to 30% with the Brewers in 2018.
There are a number of second base options on the free agent market that are coming off better seasons and can be signed for less money than the approximately $10.1 million Schoop would have earned in arbitration.
For the low-payroll Milwaukee Brewers, paying around $10 million for a second baseman that struggled in a hitter friendly ballpark and was benched during the playoffs just doesn’t seem like a smart move.
It was an odd trade to make to acquire Schoop at the time after the acquisition of Mike Moustakas. GM David Stearns was trying to land a pitcher, but couldn’t, and pivoted to Schoop because he felt like he needed to make a move and couldn’t stand pat at the deadline.
That was a mistake, and we must give credit to Stearns for owning up to that mistake and taking the blame.
It’s not often people hear GMs admit they made a bad deal and they were wrong. Have to respect Stearns admitting his mistake and looking to move forward, not allowing his ego to stand in the way of his team’s future success.
What Happens Now?
Now the search is on for another infielder. Both Moustakas and Schoop are now free agents. There’s a non-zero chance Moustakas would return to Milwaukee and Travis Shaw would move back to second base. But that’s likely dependent on the size of the contract offers Moustakas is given from other teams. If he has to settle for a one year deal again, he may prefer Milwaukee.
Outside of that, don’t expect a big push at third base.
The bigger focus will likely be on second base where there are a number of options. Players like Asdrubal Cabrera, Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler, DJ LeMahieu, Jed Lowrie, and Daniel Murphy are all available on the free agent market. Given the small number of teams looking for a second baseman, the Brewers should be able to land one of these players at a reasonable deal.
If the Milwaukee Brewers are going to repeat as NL Central Champions and achieve their ultimate goal, they’re going to need to find an answer at second base. They thought it was Jonathan Schoop. They were wrong. Now they have to look again to find a solution up the middle.
Choosing to cut ties with a player that was supposed to be a strong solution for next season is difficult. But with his struggles in Milwaukee, it was an easy decision to move on from Schoop.