Brewers GM David Stearns admits he made a 'bad deal' after non-tendering Jonathan Schoop
Schoop mustered a weak .577 OPS with Milwaukee
Few teams were as aggressive adding players in 2018 as the Milwaukee Brewers. GM David Stearns made eight trades (and three waiver claims) during the season in an effort to bolster his roster. The result was an NL Central title and a trip to the NLCS.
One of those eight trades sent second baseman Jonathan Schoop to the Brewers. On July 31, trade deadline day, Stearns dealt Jonathan Villar and two prospects to the Orioles for Schoop, who he hoped would add infield depth and balance to a lineup that sometimes leaned a little too left-handed.
It did not work. At all. Schoop hit a weak .202/.246/.331 (53 OPS+) with four home runs in 46 games and 134 plate appearances for Milwaukee -- he hit .244/.273/.447 (96 OPS+) in 85 games with the O's before the trade -- and was relegated to bench duty by the end of the season. He started only one of the team's 10 postseason games.
MLB Trade Rumors projected Schoop to earn $10.1 million through arbitration next year. The Brewers didn't want to keep him at that price., meaning they let him become a free agent rather than offer him a contract for 2019, what would've been his final season of team control.
After the non-tender was announced, Stearns admitted he made a "bad deal" and took the blame for Schoop not working out with the Brewers. The Associated Press has the details:
"We looked at what was a best-educated prediction of what we could expect going forward and the potential price tag for that, then compared that to some of our internal alternatives and what is potentially available externally and we decided to go in this direction," general manager David Stearns said. "Look, it was a bad deal, and that's on me. We made a trade for a player we thought was going to be here for basically a year and a half, and I was wrong."
Give Stearns credit: it's not often you see a general manager shoulder the blame for an obvious deal gone wrong like that. Usually they brush it aside or blame outside factors. Stearns owned up to it and, rather than keep Schoop and try to salvage the trade, he non-tendered him and cut his losses. Not much more you can do other than move forward and learn from it.
Villar authored a .258/.336/.392 batting line with 21 stolen bases in 54 games after the trade, and the Orioles can keep him as an arbitration-eligible player through 2020. The two prospects in the trade, right-hander Luis Ortiz and shortstop Jean Carmona, currently rank as the No. 7 and No. 13 prospects in Baltimore's farm system per MLB.com. A snippet of their scouting reports:
- Ortiz: "Another healthy campaign will be key for Ortiz as he continues down his path towards becoming a No. 3 starter."
- Carmona: "(Has) all the components needed to become an impactful player at the highest level."
Ouch. So not only did Villar thoroughly outperform Schoop after the trade, he also has an extra year of control, and Ortiz and Carmona are pretty good prospects. Yep, that trade is a loser.
At the moment the Brewers have Hernan Perez and Tyler Saladino penciled in at second base. It's likely they will pick up an infielder this offseason, however. If not another second baseman then possibly a third baseman, pushing Travis Shaw to second, where he finished this past season.
Schoop, who is still only 27 and was an All-Star in 2017, is likely looking at a one-year "prove yourself" contract as a free agent.
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