Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Schoop’s arbitration hearing set for Thursday

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 01: Jonathan Schoop
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 01: Jonathan Schoop /

The Baltimore Orioles are notorious for winning their Arbitration hearings. However, it wouldn’t come as a shock if they lost their next one.

The upcoming Arbitration hearing involving the Baltimore Orioles will take place this Thursday, February 8 and will be against second baseman, Jonathan Schoop.

MLB’s Arbitration eligible salary exchange deadline came-and-went without the Orioles and Schoop able to agree on a contract for the 2018 season. That indifference will lead to the team’s third Arbitration hearing in two years. They have their fourth scheduled for Thursday, February 14th, when they’ll meet Kevin Gausman in court.

Jonathan Schoop – represented by The Legacy Agency – filed for a contract worth $9MM for the 2018 season. The Orioles countered that by offering $7.5MM.

According to MLBTradeRumors’ Arbitration Tracker, Schoop’s $1.5MM separation is the second largest contract indifference awaiting settlement.

The largest is Houston Astros’ outfielder, George Springer. He filed for $10.5MM, while the Astros countered at $8.5MM. Springer’s hearing is yet to be set, in case you were wondering.

UPDATE: Per Bob Nightengale on Twitter, as of 9:41 AM, Springer’s case is settled. This now makes Jonathan Schoop’s indifference the largest waiting to be settled.

Camp Schoop should walk out victorious

Entering his fifth full season in the majors, the 26-year-old native of Willemstad, Curacao has only improved his game as time progresses.

Schoop posted his highest offensive numbers to-date, last season, slashing .293/.338/.503/.841, hitting 32 home runs and knocking in 105 runs.

Baltimore Orioles
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – SEPTEMBER 30: Jonathan Schoop #6 of the Baltimore Orioles waits on deck to bat during the ninth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 30, 2017, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

On the way to his first All-Star appearance, Schoop’s 5.1 WAR was highest of any Oriole in 2017.

Schoop raised his pitches per at-bat last season to 3.76, up from 3.45 the year before, and the highest since 2014 – his first full season in the majors. It’s evident in that number that his first pitch swinging percentage decreased to 33.3% in 2017, from 42.7% the previous season.

It’s also a no-brainer that Mamba is a solid second baseman. His Range Factor per game jumped from 4.47 in 2016 to 4.87 in 2017, and he was part of 132 double plays – 49 in the 6-4-3 style, 22 in the 5-4-3 method and 34 in the 4-6-3 format.

Comparing Schoop to his peers

Based on performance, a comparable player to Jonathan Schoop is Texas Rangers’ second baseman, Rougned Odor. Set to make just $3.33MM in 2018, Odor has hit 30 home runs in back-to-back seasons. His average was down in 2017, but Odor has consistently hit above .250 in three of his four seasons in the majors.

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Another comparable player is Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman, Scooter Gennett. After four full seasons in the majors – much like Schoop – Gennett has improved his power numbers year-to-year, as he took his 14 homers in 2016 and nearly doubled them, hitting 27 last season.

Gennett will be heading for an Arbitration hearing to determine his salary for the 2018 season.

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The Orioles genuinely have an exceptional player in Jonathan Schoop. A player that is a rock in the field, always a threat at the plate and can turn into a leader in the clubhouse. It would be in the team’s best interest to lock him up now before he hits free agency. Schoop is under team control for 2018 and 2019, and if there’s no extension by then, what a loss it’ll be for this organization.