There are a lot of former Orioles sitting on the free agent market this offseason. The first of them to sign looks like it’s going to be second baseman Jonathan Schoop. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Thursday evening that Schoop is finalizing a contract with the Twins for one year and $7.5 million.
Schoop ended up in the free agent pool after a disappointing 2018 that saw him bat a combined .233/.266/.416 between the Orioles and Brewers. He tantalized the Brewers enough that they traded for him, sending fellow second baseman Jonathan Villar and prospects Luis Ortiz and Jean Carmona to Baltimore.
Villar, who’s under team control for one more year than Schoop was, ended up performing much better for the O’s than Schoop did for the Brewers. His .729 OPS and 21 stolen bases in 54 games with the O’s make him one of the more interesting trade chips still on the team.
Unfortunately for the Brewers and for Schoop, his actual performance didn’t rebound enough that they wanted to chance tendering him a 2019 contract that would have gone for an estimated $10 million. Still just 27, Schoop will have a chance to rebuild some value with the Twins while making a decent chunk of change.
The Twins have an opening at the position due to their longtime second baseman Brian Dozier not being around any more. Dozier was traded to the Dodgers during the season and was about to be a free agent this offseason in any case. There are more than a few second basemen on the market, so Schoop guarantees that he’s not going to be the last one standing when the music stops and everyone scrambles for a chair.
I never expected a reunion between Schoop and the O’s even once he became a free agent. As he was a joyous presence with the O’s while here, I’ll always be glad if he succeeds. If he hits 40 home runs for the Twins but zero when playing the Orioles, that would be just fine with me.