Detroit Tigers may need to re-define Jonathan Schoop's role
The Detroit Tigers will have their work cut out for them in 2023 as the team starts to hand out roles. One of the things that the Tigers have to give some thought to is switching up the role that Jonathan Schoop plays with the organization.
After signing a two-year, $15 million contract with the Detroit Tigers for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, he has fallen off a bit. He may not be swinging it as well as he did when he got to Detroit, but he's still trying to find ways to benefit the organization.
Schoop is now 31 years old and well into the latter half of his career. There may be some discussions about his role with the Tigers in the coming season and how he can truly bring the most benefit to the team.
In 2022, Schoop's way to provide benefit was with the glove. He ended up being a gold glove finalist, falling short of the award to Cleveland infielder Andres Gimenez. But his performance in the field was impressive last season.
Over the years, Schoop has always had a knack for making plays with the glove. He's also been one of the most versatile options the team has. He's shifted around the infield and played where the Tigers have needed him.
That said, there may be a shift to third base in the cards. With the Tigers coming out of Winter Meetings, not adding an MLB-ready third baseman, they still have some work to do. Schoop might be an internal option if the team sees fit.
While it opens up another void to fill, the market for third baseman is not great, so maybe the Tigers can find a better option at second or swing a trade before spring ball. The point is, 31-year-old Schoop may be better served to play the hot corner and eat up some innings.
The younger crowd, like Ryan Kreidler, will get their chances, but if Schoop can move to the hot corner, it might serve the Tigers well. Schoop is coming off of a season where he slashed .202/.239/.322 with 23 doubles and 11 home runs over 510 plate appearances through 131 games played.
The Detroit News recently ran a piece about the shift being banned and the effect on Schoop, giving even more reason to consider him for the hole at third base. Schoop being moved to third would allow a younger player to play second.
The article stated that Schoop was not going to give up second base without a fight and has been sending videos showing off his defensive work and agility to A.J. Hinch. The point being, even with Schoop putting in work, he's 31 and might be better suited for third base.