SARASOTA, Fla. -- Many fans at Orioles FanFest Jan. 27 were disappointed when second baseman Jonathan Schoop decided not to attend.
At the time, it appeared as if Schoop was headed for arbitration, and his agent advised the 26-year-old to skip the event because his contract status was unresolved, irking manager Buck Showalter.
Schoop's status was resolved before the hearing, and he settled with the Orioles for an $8.5 million salary for 2018.
When Schoop arrived for spring training Feb. 17, he said he wanted to forget the matter and regretted that Orioles fans were unhappy.
"That's why I'm going to sign [autographs for] them," Schoop said. "Every fan, I'm going to sign for them and give them something back. I'm glad it's over, and I can focus on baseball now. I can focus on being out there and helping the team win."
Showalter was happy to see Schoop, and places the blame on his agent, not the second baseman.
"Jon's 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. It creates the wrong perception of him. FanFest is not about contracts or anything like that. It's just some bad advice that a young player got."
Schoop says he has no hard feelings about the Orioles.
"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 [on going] out there and [doing] my job and help my team win."
There was some talk that the Orioles and Schoop would work on an extension, but that hasn't happened, yet.
"No, I'm not disappointed," Schoop said. "I come here, I'm not thinking about an extension. I'm not thinking about that. I'm coming here to play and train to help my team win, so I'm not thinking about an extension."
Schoop will try and capitalize on his 2018 performance. Last year, he was the Orioles' lone All-Star and won the Most Valuable Oriole award when he hit .293 with 33 home runs and 105 RBIs.
"Every year I want to get better," Schoop said. "I want to continue to get better. I want to be better than I was last year. I want to better than I was three years ago. So I'm working to get better, fix things I've got to fix to help my game improve."
Schoop and his close friend Manny Machado arrived together for spring training, and they enjoy playing together. He was upset when there was trade talk involving Machado.
"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."
Schoop is looking forward to turning double plays with Machado, who's converting to shortstop.
"I'm excited to help him out," Schoop said. "I'm excited to help him out because it's been it's a long time [since he's played] over there. I'm going to help him out a little bit."
While Machado is eligible for free agency after this season, Schoop won't be eligible until after the 2019 season, and said he'd like to remain with the Orioles.
"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 gave me the chance to play in the big leagues and made my dream come true. If they talk about an extension, of course I want to spend [many years here] and play for the Orioles. They're the team that gave me the chance to be a big leaguer."
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