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Trade Retrospective: Jonathan Schoop

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The 2018 Baltimore Orioles were extremely disappointing. The franchise had hoped to make one last playoff push with their current core, after making the wild card in 2016 and winning the AL East in 2014 with the same group. Things did not go their way, however, as the team sat near the bottom of MLB with a 32-75 record by the time the trade deadline rolled around.

Most veterans were sent elsewhere with right-handed pitchers Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day traded to Atlanta, All-Star closer Zack Britton headed to the Yankees, and superstar third baseman Manny Machado dealt to the Dodgers. The Orioles received thirteen prospects in return for those four players, headlined by then-consensus top 100 prospect Yusniel Diaz.

Details of the Schoop Trade

Arguably the least justifiable of the trades former GM Dan Duquette made in 2018 was completed minutes before the 4:00 pm deadline. All-Star 2B Jonathan Schoop was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Orioles received veteran INF Jonathan Villar, minor league RHP Luis Ortiz, and minor league INF Jean Carmona in the exchange. He had some hitting struggles prior to the trade but was still only a year removed from being named an All-Star and finishing 12th in AL MVP voting. Schoop was also under team control through the 2019 season, so there was no rush to deal the 26-year-old.

The Brewers on the other hand had hoped that the addition of Schoop would bolster their lineup as they headed towards a playoff berth. His impact on Milwaukee was very minimal, however. Schoop only started in 29 of the 46 games he appeared in with the Brewers and posted a poor .202 batting average. His 53 OPS+ in this stretch led to Schoop only receiving 8 at-bats, striking out in 3 of them, and failing to record a single base hit. Following the season, the Brewers granted him his release.

The Returns

Jonathan Villar’s tenure with the Orioles however was a short, but successful one. Villar appeared in 216 games for Baltimore across a season and a half, stealing 61 bases and hitting to the tune of a 106 OPS+. His success didn’t translate to many wins, but the Orioles still gained value from Villar’s presence in the form of a prospect. At the time, the organization’s desolate farm system needed pitching, so after the 2019 season, Villar was dealt to the Miami Marlins for LHP Prospect Easton Lucas. Lucas has yet to pitch above High-A, due in part to the cancelation of the 2020 MiLB season, but his 2021 was a solid campaign pitching out of the bullpen in 27 games for a 3.96 ERA.

The prospects gained in the Schoop trade — Ortiz Carmona — have had minimal to know impact thus far. Luis Ortiz pitched in 3 games for the Orioles, registering an abysmal 12.71 ERA and 10.96 FIP. Needless to say, the former top-100 prospect didn’t live up to the expectations as a back-end rotation starter. Struggles in AAA in 2019 marked an unceremonious end to his Orioles career, as Ortiz was released in the winter of 2020.

The now 22-year-old Carmona still has time to develop into a decent ballplayer, as he is the only member of this trade still with either organization. Carmona has been average at best but has still shown improvement as he’s moved up the minor league ladder. His batting average jumped from .224 to .242 from 2019 to 2021, and his on-base percentage also increased by nearly twenty points. The ability to play anywhere in the infield also bodes well for Carmona, as that versatility allows him to see the field under most circumstances. He will likely see a full season of High-A ball, if not AA, to see if his progression continues.

All said and done, the impact of this deal had minimal impact on either franchises’ success or futures, as all but one player has found a new home.

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main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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