Could Johnny Baseball have a reunion with the Orioles?

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop had a career year in 2017 and was named Most Valuable Oriole. He’s had a pretty terrible year in 2018 and didn’t start any of the three games for the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Division Series against Colorado.

Here’s a crazy thought: Has Schoop played so poorly for the Brewers that they will non-tender him, making him a free agent? Could that lead to him re-signing with his old team, the Orioles? If that scenario played out, he could then team with Jonathan Villar as the Orioles’ 2019 double play combo, working alongside a player he got traded for.

On the final day of the non-waiver trade deadline this year, Schoop was dealt to Milwaukee for Villar, pitcher Luis Ortiz and minor league infielder Jean Carmona.

Schoop immediately got off to a terrible start with his new team. In his first five games with Milwaukee, he went 2-for-21 with 10 strikeouts. His batting average never topped .226 with Milwaukee and he finished batting .202/.246/.331 with an OPS of .577 to produce an OPS+ of 53.

It was a surprise that Schoop played so poorly for his new team. Even though his 2018 Orioles numbers were well behind those he posted in 2017, he ended his Orioles tenure on a hitting tear.

On July 3, Schoop was batting .198, but in July he batted .360/.356/.700 with the Orioles, hitting nine homers and 19 RBIs. He finally was turning it around. But then he was traded and his bat bottomed out again.

Jonathan-Schoop-All-Star-swing-sidebar.jpgSchoop was named the MVO in 2017 when he hit .293/.338/.503 with 35 doubles, 32 homers and 105 RBIs. He finished 12th in the American League MVP race. He was sixth in the league in hits, total bases and RBIs and ranked eighth in the AL in offensive WAR at 5.0.

Schoop started the one-game playoff for the National League Central when Milwaukee beat the Cubs, but he went 0-for-4. That was officially Game No. 163 of the regular season. He went 0-for-2 as a pinch hitter in the NLDS. Three games and no starts for Schoop in a playoff series. That is a far fall from the MVO and finishing 12th for the MVP.

In his first year of arbitration in 2017, Schoop earned $3.475 million. This year he earned $8.5 million and that projects to $10.1 million for 2019 per MLBTradeRumors.com.

If Schoop can’t even get into the starting lineup, are the Brewers going to pay him that much for next season? Or will they just non-tender him, even after trading three players for him? Is another trade of Schoop a possibility?

A return to Baltimore could find him filling a middle infield hole, at second or short. He could play either. The Orioles may have their own non-tender candidate in infielder Tim Beckham.

Has too much happened to keep the Orioles and Johnny Baseball from a reunion?

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