Detroit Tigers bring back second baseman Jonathan Schoop

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been a less than exciting offseason surrounding the timid Detroit Tigers, but General Manager (GM) Al Avila did make a wise decision to re-sign second baseman, Jonathan Schoop.

The Detroit Tigers agreed to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million with Schoop, who had been one of the few bright spots on the roster a year ago.  Schoop, along with Jeimer Candelario and Willi Castro, paced the Tigers’ offense during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 MLB season.

Not only did Schoop play a stellar, Gold Glove-caliber defense at second base, but the sure-handed defender belted eight home runs and drove in 23 runs hitting in the middle of Detroit’s lineup.  The veteran right-handed hitting Schoop stashed a nice line of .278/.324/.799 in 2020.  It’s worth noting, Schoop performed well above his career average in each of those metrics mentioned; perhaps he’s settled in playing at Comerica Park.

The Tigers designated outfielder Travis Demeritte for assignment to make room on the roster for Schoop.

The Detroit Tigers re-signing Jonathan Schoop is a great move by GM Al Avila.

Here’s what the Tigers’ GM recently had to say about Schoop and the impact he made on and off the field last season for Detroit;

"“Jonathan made a tremendous impression on us last year, and we’re looking forward to having him back with the ballclub for the 2021 season,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a released statement. “Not only were we impressed by the on-field results, but also his leadership and relentless desire to be in the lineup day-in and day-out.“It’s hard for a one-year free agent to have a real positive impact on a clubhouse’s culture, but he certainly achieved that last season, and we’re looking forward to that continuing.”"

I’m not exactly sure what took so long for the Tigers to get this deal done, but it’s one of those things that is better late than never.

If the Tigers plan on starting Willi Castro at shortstop after hitting an impressive .349 last season in 140 plate appearances with six home runs and 24 runs batted in, where does that leave Niko Goodrum?

I suspect Goodrum will play as a platoon infielder but spend most of his time at third base, with Schoop and Castro being the starting double-play duo moving forward.

After seeing Candelario’s offensive outburst following his move across the diamond from third to first base, I don’t expect manager A.J. Hinch to experiment with him back at the hot corner in 2021.

Brining back Schoop, at the very least, buys the Tigers organization time for someone to emerge at second base.  Perhaps Kody Clemens takes a step forward down in the minor leagues because I’m not convinced someone like Isaac Paredes is good or agile enough defensively to play second base at the MLB level.  Goodrum will remain another option if the 29-year old Schoop moves on after the 2021 season.

Next. Pros and cons of Miguel Cabrera playing first base in 2021. dark

Schoop joins Robbie Grossman and Wilson Ramos as Avila’s most significant 2021 offseason free-agent additions.