The Detroit Tigers are back up and running. The team is getting going down in Lakeland for Spring Training. Games are scheduled, the lockout is over, Miguel Cabrera is “in the best shape of his life,” and all things seem to be back to normal following the work stoppage.
But, that also means that all of the unanswered questions from before about the Detroit Tigers, ahead of the 2022 season, have re-emerged. One of them is where Jonathan Schoop is going to be the best fit on this Tigers team?
While it seems like right now, second base will be Schoop’s home for the duration of the 2022 season, and there’s a chance he may need to morph into a Swiss Army knife utility player for the Tigers.
Schoop signed a $7.5 million contract extension that takes him through the end of the 2022 season, keeping him around for his third season in the Motor City. He’s been a quality addition since the team added him and proved to benefit the team’s lineup and clubhouse.
The nine(soon to be ten) year veteran of the big leagues is no stranger to change, having been traded and moved around positionally, so Schoop will be just fine. He’s been accustomed to moving around with the Tigers, who have done so during his time.
Detroit Tigers are going to rely on Jonathan Schoop to be flexible.
In 2021, the Tigers added a new position to his list of capabilities, working him in at first base. While the need for him to play first base in 2022 is going to be much lower than it was last year, his versatility is going to be a massive benefit to the Tigers.
After all, he is coming off of a 2021 season where he hit .278/.320/.435 with 22 home runs and 84 RBI over 156 games played. It’s an excellent season on this Tigers team that seems like they are starting to turn the corner.
Having the ability to move Schoop around will be key. The signing of Javier Báez solves the team’s shortstop issue, but on days off, being able to move Schoop there if needed will be a benefit. This is where finding playing time for Willi Castro will also come into play.
Being able to get creative with the lineup card to move around flexible players is a luxury that A.J. Hinch will have in 2022. This is partial because Schoop can be moved around. It’s a question of it will be done, but it seems like relying on Schoop to be a Swiss Army knife guy who moves around and plays almost every day is something the team will be able to do.
The Tigers have time before the season starts to test out some lineups and see what feels best moving forward, but expect Schoop to get some work in at multiple positions with the expectation that he will be moved around to ensure his bat stays in the Tigers lineup in 2022.