Second Baseman Schoop Hopes Orioles Want Him Long-Term

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles had just one All-Star last season.

It wasn’t Adam Jones or Manny Machado. It was Machado’s close friend, Jonathan Schoop. Besides the All-Star Game appearance, Schoop was voted the team’s most valuable player. He hit .293 with 32 home runs and 105 RBIs.

The easygoing 26-year-old is a fan favorite in Baltimore, but he annoyed many Orioles fans by canceling his appearance at last month’s annual FanFest .

Schoop hadn’t agreed on a contract for 2018, and looked as if he was headed for arbitration. He and the Orioles ended up settling before the scheduled hearing on a one-year, $8.5 million deal.

When Schoop arrived for spring training, he acknowledged that he regretted his decision, which manager Buck Showalter blamed on poor advice from his agent.

“Every fan, I’m going to sign (autographs) for them and give them something back,” Schoop said. “I’m glad it’s over and I can focus on baseball now so I can focus on being out there and helping the team win.”

Showalter hopes that Schoop’s absence will be forgotten.

“Jon is a great kid. I’d hate that anybody get some perception that’s not reality with him, and that’s kind of what happened,” Showalter said. “Jon loves the fans, he loves Baltimore.”

Showalter is depending on Schoop to help the team return to the postseason, and the second baseman said his relationship with the manager is solid.

“Of course, of course, it’s good,” Schoop said. “I went in there and shook hands with Buck and talked with Buck and I think everything is OK. I’m focused right now to go out there and do my job and help my team win.”

Now, Schoop’s main task is assisting Machado in his transition from third base to short.

“I’m excited to help him out,” Schoop said. “I’m excited to help him out because it’s a long time (since he’s played) over there. I’m going to help him out a little bit.”

During December’s winter meetings, the Orioles let other teams know Machado was available in the right deal. Schoop was hoping there was no deal.

“To be honest with you, late in the year, me and Manny talked after that. I didn’t want to listen to it because I don’t want it to happen,” Schoop said. “I want him to be here the whole year so we can win a championship together.”

There’s been talk that Baltimore would offer Schoop an extension. He’d welcome that talk.

“Of course, this is the team that helped me,” Schoop said. “This is the team that signed me. This is the team that gave me the chance. This is the team that went to Curacao to sign me and give me the chance to play in the big leagues and make my dream come true.

“If they talk about an extension, of course I want to spend (many years here) and play for the Orioles.”

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