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Quick Hits: Schoop, Brewers, Nationals, Stroman

Jonathan Schoop is a key figure in the Brewers’ offseason plans, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, as the club’s decision whether or not to tender the second baseman a contract could have a ripple effect throughout the infield.  Schoop is projected to earn $10.1MM via arbitration, though he is coming off a rough season that saw him hit just .233/.266/.416 over 501 plate appearances for the Brewers and Orioles.  Since Schoop did post big numbers for the O’s in 2017, however, Milwaukee could keep Schoop in the fold to see if he can regain that form.  If Schoop was non-tendered, the Brewers could again consider moving Travis Shaw to second base (as they did last season) and then pursue third base help, possibly in the form of a reunion with Mike Moustakas.  I’d also suggest that the Brewers could simply try to acquire another second baseman if Schoop was non-tendered, as there are several interesting options available that might be preferable to taking the defensive hit that would likely come with Shaw getting regular second base duty.  GM David Stearns was quick to dismiss the possibility that Keston Hiura, Milwaukee’s top prospect, could be a possibility for the second base job, as Hiura has yet to even reach the Triple-A level.

Here’s more from around baseball as we wrap up Thanksgiving weekend…

  • The Nationalsare thought to be “aiming higher” in their search for starting pitching rather than trying to swing buy-low trades for Marcus Stroman or sonny Gray, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post  Janes’ piece in general looks at the pitching options open to the Nats on the trade market, and while GM Mike Rizzo doesn’t often make deals for notable starters, he is willing to pay a significant price when he does covet an arm.  Washington parted with seven total players to acquire Doug Fister in 2013 and Gio Gonzalez in 2011, and since those trades, Rizzo has preferred to rely on free agency or homegrown arms to bolster the rotation.  With so many interesting starters available in trade talks this winter, however, it wouldn’t be surprising if Rizzo went that route instead of making another signing.
  • Speaking of Stroman, the Blue Jayshave been asked about the right-hander but have yet to enter into any significant trade talks.  The Athletic’s Andrew Stoeten(subscription required) feels the Jays should be willing to deal Stroman even at something of a sell-low price, since a slow start in 2019 would further diminish any real trade value Stroman possesses.  Since Toronto doesn’t seem to be planning to contend again until 2021, Stoeten feels the Jays should be exploring deals for any player (like Stroman) whose isn’t under team control in 2021 or beyond.

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