With one homegrown star possibly leaving the team in the next year via a trade or free agency, can the Orioles keep another? If third baseman Manny Machado leaves the Orioles via free agency after the 2018 season, second baseman Jonathan Schoop could do the same at the end of 2019.
With Machado likely to command a contract the team is not prepared and/or willing to match, Schoop should be a different story. He has two years of team control left and his next deal will come well under the projected potential of $300 million or more for Machado. The Orioles would surely seem to have the resources and desire to re-sign Schoop.
Schoop had his best year in 2017. He was named the Most Valuable Oriole, finished 12th in the American League MVP vote and was named an All-Star for the first time.
Schoop set career highs in hits, homers, runs, on-base percentage, slugging, RBIs and on-base plus slugging in 2017, and produced 4.1 Wins Above Replacement per FanGraphs and 5.1 per baseball-reference.com.
He batted .293/.338/.503 with 35 doubles, 32 homers, 92 runs and 105 RBIs. He produced a .841 OPS and OPS+ of 123. He hit .338 with runners in scoring position, .300 versus lefties and .290 versus right-handers. He hit .303 with an OPS of .891 at home and .283/.792 on the road. He increased his walk rate from 3.2 to 5.2 percent with a slight strikeout rate decrease from 21.2 percent to 21.0.
All of that puts Schoop in line for a nice raise via arbitration, and he’s projected to go from $3.475 million last year to $9.1 million for 2018.
If the Orioles buy out two free agent years for Schoop, a new deal could look like this:
2018: $9.1 million
2019: $14 million
2020: $18 million
2021: $20 million
That is a four-year deal worth $61.1 million. Add $22 million for 2022 and that would be a five-year deal worth $83.1 million. That seems a reasonable ballpark dollar amount for Schoop.
Maybe Schoop would do better on the open market, but that is also contingent on him continuing to put up big numbers on offense through his final two years of team control. A four- or five-year deal now would give Schoop some guaranteed future dollars and security, and would allow the team to buy out at least two of his free agent years.
Schoop surely has time on his side. While Machado will be just 26 when he hits free agency in the fall of 2018, Schoop will turn 28 in October 2019 when he can become a free agent.
If the Orioles could lock up Schoop through 2022, they would have him for at least five more seasons. Schoop could then hit free agency coming off his age-30 season and perhaps be in line for another big contract.