Game Recap #110: Pounders 16, Poundees 3

Well, that was kind of fun.

The Twins clearly were just toying with the White Sox in this game.  They deliberately refused to score runs in the early innings, despite how the White Sox tried to force them to.  They even let the White Sox take the lead for a while, just to give them the illusion that they might have a chance to win.  Then, at the end, they started trying and just crushed the living daylights out of them.  It wasn't exactly Minnesota Nice, but it was kind of fun to watch.

The Twins made a roster move, claiming Jordan Schafer off waivers from Atlanta and sending Logan Darnell to Rochester.  So, who's Jordan Schafer?  Well, he's an outfielder.  He's played mostly center field, although he has seen some time at the corners.  He made his debut with the Braves in 2009.  He was back in the minors in 2010, split 2011 between AAA and the majors, was traded to Houston at the trade deadline in 2011, was a part-time outfielder for the Astros in 2012, was claimed off waivers by Atlanta after the 2012 season, and has been a reserve outfielder with the Braves ever since.  He'll turn 28 in a month, so one assumes he's about as good as he's going to be.

How good is that?  Not very.  In nearly 1100 major league at-bats, his line is .222/.307/.304.  In AAA, in 453 at-bats, he hit .225/.278/.294.  It's not going too far out on a limb to say he's not likely to hit very well.  He's really not any particular offensive upgrade over Aaron Hicks.  In fact, he's probably not any particular offensive upgrade over what Eric Farris would do in the majors.

Now, obviously the Twins know this.  I've been critical of the Twins front office, but I don't think they're complete fools.  They know Jordan Schafer is not going to hit.  So, the questions are:  1) Why did they suddenly decided they needed another outfielder, and 2) Why do they prefer Schafer to Hicks or Farris.

Let's address the first question first.  On the one hand, many of us have complained about the lack of real outfielders on the roster all year, so I guess we can't complain now that the Twins finally decided to add one.  On the other hand, the timing of it seems odd.  They've gone without enough outfielders all year.  Why, with fifty-two games left in the season, did they suddenly decide they needed to address the problem now?

A couple of possibilities come to mind.  One is that we keep hearing Gardy would really like to move Danny Santana back to shortstop, his natural position.  Adding a center fielder would allow him to do that.  The fact that this move might not help the Twins win games in the short-term is irrelevant, because they're not going to win anything this year anyway.  So, we put up with a couple of months of Schafer to allow us to look at Santana at short for a couple of months.  There is some logic to that.

Also, it could be that Josh Willingham is going to be traded, which would open a spot for an outfielder in left.  The Twins missed the July deadline, but that does not mean there couldn't still be a trade.  After all, they traded Jim Thome in August.  I'd rather play Parmelee in left, but that doesn't mean the Twins look at it that way.  It's possible that this is a move which will precede another move.

Why Schafer rather than Hicks or Farris?  Well, Hicks is the easier one to understand.  If Schafer is to be a reserve outfielder, you don't want Hicks sitting the bench.  Even if Schafer is going to play, I can understand why you don't bring Hicks back right now.  It took him a while to start hitting even at AA.  You don't want to bring him back to the majors right away just to have him fail again.

As for why Schafer rather than Farris, there are two possibilities I can think of.  One, I really don't know anything about the defensive abilities of the two players.  I can't interpret defensive stats very well, but Farris is also twenty-eight and this is the first year he's been a center fielder, so it's fair to speculate that he might not be very good at it.  Two, Rochester is in a playoff race.  The Twins might prefer to leave Farris there to help the Red Wings, since he wouldn't make a big difference to the Twins anyway.

I don't claim to have thought of everything.  If you have some other ideas as to why the Twins might have made this move, please add them.

At any rate, the Twins took two of the three from the White Sox, which is always fun to see.  They had a .500 road trip, which is nice.  They've won two in a row, so they've made a good start on their season-ending fifty-four game winning streak.  We're still on track for 102-60.

4 thoughts on “Game Recap #110: Pounders 16, Poundees 3”

  1. Padre, I think your thoughts about Schafer's presence on the roster make sense. One thing I read that gave me slight pause:

    Schafer, who will wear Sam Fuld’s old uniform No. 1, served a 50-game suspension in 2008 for violating the league’s drug policy. He also was arrested in 2011 for marijuana possession.
    “We did our due diligence on Schafer,” assistant GM Rob Antony said, “and were comfortable that he has matured and he is beyond the issues he had in the past.”

    The suspension was for PEDs (HGH), though he denies using and did not test positive.
    A bit more on him:

    In 63 games this season, Schafer is hitting .163 with four doubles, two RBIs and 15 stolen bases -- not quite what the Braves expected from a third-round pick in 2005 who was once touted as the team's No. 1 prospect.

    Sort-of reinforces our discussion last week about the draft being a crap-shoot.

  2. The timing makes perfect sense. They just traded Sam Fuld, so they picked up a guy to replace him. They even gave him the same jersey number as Fuld so Gardy wouldn't get confused about how to use him.

    1. True, although Fuld was only around about half the season if you exclude the time he spent on the disabled list. And Fuld was pretty much a regular in his time with the Twins, although injuries obviously were a factor in that.

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