Former Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop got a late start on his offseason, but he’s able to head back home with the Twins swept in the American League Division Series.
Schoop is a free agent again after signing a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Twins last winter. He slashed .256/.304/.473 with 23 doubles, a triple, 23 home runs and 59 RBIs in 121 games and he struck out in both plate appearances in the ALDS.
The Orioles didn’t attempt to re-sign Schoop and won’t make an effort this winter. His price really would have to plummet and Jonathan Villar would need to move over to shortstop.
Villar might not have appeared to be an upgrade after the July 31, 2018 trade with the Brewers, but he slashed .274/.339/.453 with 33 doubles, five triples, 24 home runs, 73 RBIs and 111 runs scored while playing in every game. He also stole 40 bases in 49 attempts.
Schoop registered a 1.6 WAR per baseball-reference.com, compared to Villar’s 4.0 WAR.
Villar was one of five players in the majors to appear in every game and the first Oriole since, of course, Schoop in 2016. He’s the sixth Orioles player in the 20-homer/20-steals club.
The trade really swings in the Orioles’ favor if they get anything positive out of the other two players obtained for Schoop. Villar isn’t really part of the rebuild as he approaches his final year of arbitration unless he can be moved.
MLBTradeRumors.com projects that Villar’s salary will soar from $4.83 million to $10.4 million, which seems extremly high.
Pitcher Luis Ortiz has improved his conditioning and now needs to do the same with his results. He could be a bubble guy on the 40-man roster after making only one start for the rotation-challenged Orioles and allowing four runs with five walks in 3 1/3 innings.
Ortiz made 14 starts with Triple-A Norfolk, none after July 2 due to injury, and registered a 6.38 ERA and 1.628 WHIP in 66 1/3 innings. He tossed one inning for the Gulf Coast League team on Aug. 15, striking out the side, and disappeared again.
Infielder Jean Carmona, who turns 20 later this month, appeared in 25 games with short-season Single-A Aberdeen and batted .224/.290/.271. He committed seven errors in 85 chances at second base.
A clearer read on the return for Schoop won’t arrive for a few more years if we’re waiting on Carmona.
Would you keep Ortiz on the 40-man roster and take another look at him in spring training, or designate and risk losing him?
My inclination is to hold onto him for one more spring if he’s healthy and in shape. He’s a former first-round pick, and there are other soft spots on the 40-man to accommodate players who must be added.
But Ortiz earned his placement on the bubble and it wouldn’t shock me if he changed organizations next year.
The 40-man includes two pitchers we haven’t seen since they joined the Orioles.
The strikeout totals make Sulser an intriguing possibility in 2020. He averaged 12.1 per nine innings this summer at Triple-A Durham and 10.4 over six minor league seasons. He fanned nine batters in 7 1/3 innings with the Rays last month.