Proving once again that some people are destined to make the same mistake – in this case sign a player they like who is just never going to make it – over and over again, Frank Wren and crew this afternoon claimed Jordan Schafer off waivers from Houston.
You remember Schafer, the prospect drafted by the Braves in the 3rd round in 2005 who worked his way to Mississippi in 2008 and was promptly suspended for suspected use of HGH. Schafer professed innocence in 2009 saying that he deserved his punishment for hanging around with the wrong crowd. The Braves believed him and forgave so he started 2009 in Atlanta and looked like he was going to have a great year before hurting his wrist and missing the rest of the season. In spite of a 2010 slash line of .201/.255/.254 he did enough for in the spring of 2011 to convince the Braves – by this time desperate for a center fielder after the Nate McLouth failure and the trade for Rick Ankiel - to give him another shot in 2011. He was essentially replacement level however and eventually went to Houston as part of the Michael Bourn trade.
At Houston he had an okay 30 game finish to 2011 and looked like he might turn things around on a team who wouldn’t mind letting him play badly for a year. Following the season however he was arrested for pot in Florida generally spitting in the face of a Houston franchise who had taken him and his baggage on. In 2012 he injured his shoulder and was generally no more than a a sub replacement lever player and warm body for Houston in their farewell to the NL. In his year and a bit with the Astros he finished with a slash of .220/.301/.298 and struck out 134 times in 136 games. Schafer is just 26 so I suppose the thought is that they might catch lightening in a bottle if he suddenly becomes the player they drafted in 2005 instead of the bum he became later. That may happen but this is a mistake if he’s expected to be anything except a minor league fourth outfielder behind players who haven’t already used up their first and second chances.
Instead of Schafer the Braves could have picked up a guy like Cole Gillespie . I wrote about Gillespie on Saturday, a C+ level prospect by some rankings, designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks because they had too many outfielders. Gillespie who had worked hard and been a good soldier for the D’Backs elected free agency instead and his minor league numbers while not eye watering are better than Schafer’s.
|AAA (4 seasons)||AAA||449||1851||1563||301||456||86||35||45||248||57||23||242||307||.292||.390||.478||.868|
|A+ (2 seasons)||A+||141||573||481||85||132||27||6||13||71||20||8||79||106||.274||.383||.437||.819|
|AA (1 season)||AA||131||550||462||73||130||38||4||14||79||17||1||75||102||.281||.386||.472||.858|
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||51||233||186||49||64||12||1||8||31||18||4||40||34||.344||.464||.548||1.012|
I know the Braves are a team with a heart and everyone deserves their chances so it’s natural to bring the wayward kid back for another shot. However Schafer’s not a kid, he’s 26, and the Braves are not his parents. I hope Schafer makes it but I believe he would have a better chance of succeeding with his third chance on a team where he has no history to overcome and with teammates whom he has never let down.
That’s A Wrap
Claiming Jordan Schafer is a mistake. Before anyone says “well it doesn’t cost us anything so why not,” let me suggest that it does cost us. Every time we expend time and manpower not to mention money on a lost cause it takes away from help needed by another hardworking and dependable player like Gillespie. I don’t know Gillespie from Adam . He may never be major league ready. But his numbers say he’s more likely to be MLB ready than Schafer and has never as far as I’ve been able to find out, done anything to detract from the reputation of the organization. There are probably a dozen Gillespies out there waiting for their chance who haven’t blown two already. The Braves would be far better served finding one of those than going back to square one with a player who’s failed them twice and Schafer would be better off in a new city with a clean slate