Instead of the Detroit Tigers trading Jonathan Schoop, they extended him
There was a segment of the fan base that wanted Jonathan Schoop gone, no matter the cost. Their reasoning was fairly sound—they felt a player on a one-year deal would not be a part of the next Detroit Tigers contender.
The market for rentals had shifted back a bit this summer. No, it wasn’t Daniel Norris, Matthew Boyd, and Jairo LaBourt for David Price in 2015, but we did see Toronto give up a hefty price tag for Twins starter Jose Berrios this summer.
With that in mind, maybe trading Schoop would not be the worst thing, especially with the team also dealing Daniel Norris away for minor league pitcher Reese Olson. Personally, I didn’t think a Jonathan Schoop trade would yield much in return and would give fans a subtle yet strong sign that the club is trying to win ballgames at the MLB level; something we have not been able to say in quite some time.
There was one thing that both the ‘trade’ and ‘keep’ camps both never really considered, though: an extension. According to multiple reports, the Detroit Tigers agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract extension with Jonathan Schoop with an opt-out following 2022; a move that, if he stays, would have him in Detroit for four years in total.
Leading up to the trade deadline, the media had spoken with Schoop several times about the possibility of being traded. He made it known he desired to stay in Detroit but also communicated his knowledge and understanding of baseball as a business.
I chalked this up to a public relations-friendly response to a question that he probably didn’t want to think about. Schoop had hired the Boras Corporation a few weeks prior, which screams one thing to a player only a few months from free agency: get me paid to the highest bidder.
But I was wrong.
Schoop hired Boras and promptly let him know that he wanted to remain in Detroit and to seek out an extension. Here is a quote in an article published by Detroit Free Press’ Evan Petzold from GM Al Avila regarding Schoop’s contract situation:
"“Jonathan has really put forth his own effort to make sure he stays here. It was important for us. He’s a really important reason why we’re turning this around.” – Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila"
Schoop spoke to reporters after the extension was announced and had this to say to new agent Scott Boras, per The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen:
"“I want to be in Detroit. This is what I want to do. I want to be a part of this team. So if we can do it now, why wait until the offseason?” – Detroit Tigers 1B/2B Jonathan Schoop"
It has been a rare occurrence for a player to actually have a desire to play for the Detroit Tigers, but Robbie Grossman talked about their mutual affection early in free agency and now Jonathan Schoop has echoed those same sentiments about specifically wanting to play for Detroit.
The X-Factor appears to be the coaching staff, who Schoop thanked as part of the interviews following the extension and sees the progress the club is making on the field.
My feelings toward players and dollars are pretty straightforward. Going elsewhere for better pay to do the same job seems like a lay-up decision. That said, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t give me the warm-and-fuzzies to see someone like Schoop stick around on a friendly deal before hitting the market to really see the fruits of this rebuild play out. For once, it is difficult to not be ecstatic for both sides and I’m thankful I read the tea leaves all wrong.