Jonathan Schoop vs Nelson Cruz
Any Detroit Tigers fan will look at that return for Cruz as a haul and it is because both are top 20 arms on MLB.com so if you subscribe to that narrative for prospects, then it is a good return for a player whose contract is up at the end of the season. So let’s start with the value between the two of them in 2021.
While Nelson Cruz has the longer track record of success and gives the Rays a much-needed DH element they needed, the Twins gave up a bWAR player worth 2.2, and Schoop is not too far behind at 2.0 bWAR.
Schoop has played first for the first time in his career and has handled the position well. While Cruz does have the higher OPS + of 153, Schoop is making up for his slow start and is sitting at 122. Schoop also will more than likely be the first Tigers player to hit 20 or more home runs since Nick Castellanos’s 23 in 2018.
So looking at the comparison of the two players for 2021, Schoop is also under 30 years old. So with this Nelson Cruz trade yesterday, it seems the value for a bat may have increased and Avila should stand pat with Schoop and ride it out.
The reason? The Tigers need starting pitching depth that can start now with Joey Wentz coming back from Tommy John and both Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize under innings restrictions. The caveat being also Spencer Turnbull will be out for a significant period of time with Tommy John surgery and the farm system is thin on known starting pitchers.
So what would a package for Jonathan Schoop look like in terms of just pure prospect rankings? Let’s use two teams that would be an ideal fit for Schoop, based on an article posted by MLB Trade Rumors for the fun of it.
Boston Red Sox
RHP Connor Seabold (ranked #14 on MLB.com)
C Connor Wong (ranked #16 on MLB.com)
While it is just purely strange that both of their names are Connor, the reason why I thought Wong would be a good fit is based on position versatility, which is something manager AJ Hinch is fond of as he played second and third base in the minors. He originally came over in the Dodgers trade for Mookie Betts trade. He saw sometime this season in Boston, batting .273 in 11 at-bats this season. Wong could give Detroit another backstop with Rogers being out until mid-September.
Seabold is currently coming back from an elbow injury and is sitting on Boston’s 40-man roster. He flashes a good fastball and good changeup according to MLB.com. He also came over via trade from Philly.
These two names on the surface would appear to be players seeking an opportunity with some upside.
It is strange to think that General Manager and Vice President Jerry Dipoto has not made a trade yet, based on his history but let’s see what Seattle would be offering, thanks to our friends over at Sojo Mojo for Matthew Boyd and I like the names they brought up so this could apply for Jonathan Schoop as well.
LHP Justus Sheffield
RHP Levi Stoudt
RHP-Josias De Los Santos
While all the names above were part of various packages for just Matthew Boyd, they do come with inherited risk. Sheffield was at one point a highly regarded prospect for the Yankees but injuries have set him back. Schoop would be an upgrade over Dylan Moore but Seattle is in a strange place, just seven games back of Houston in the AL West.
So if the Tigers can’t get a convincing haul back for Jonathan Schoop, keep him until the end of the season. If they are serious about spending, then give Schoop an extension.