Cincinnati Reds What If – What would have happened if the Reds had signed Logan Schafer ?

Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Reds had an interesting chance to add an elite defensive outfielder by signing Logan Schafer.

The Cincinnati Reds have no real back-up center fielder headed into 2017, instead relying on back-up infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Jose Peraza.  The Reds waived their back-up center fielder Tyler Holt at the end of the season.  This is a look at Logan Schafer, but there are other fielding-first outfielders in the free agent market.  Drew Stubbs, Will Venable and Eric Young are all available among others.

Schafer is a former Milwaukee Brewers’ prospect who never quite made it in the big leagues.  He has always had a higher than expected OBP based on batting average, but only has one year  of starting experience.  In that one year he only batted .211.

Schafer is a good base runner and plus defensive center fielder.  He is also a left handed batter.  That would have made Schafer a good match-up to back-up Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall.

Schafer is light on power.  He only has 5 career home runs in over 300 career games.  He also only has 34 doubles, so he really has very little power.

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Schafer’s lack of power and overall offense has been what’s held him back in his career.  He is good enough to hold down a job as a defensive specialist if a team has a spot available for that.  Schafer has been able to get better with getting on base as his career has progressed.  Schafer signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

The Cincinnati Reds need to find someone besides Jose Peraza to be the back-up center fielder.

Jose Peraza and Triple-A infielder Hernan Iribarren had to fill in at center field when Billy Hamilton wore out in 2016.

Peraza then had to close out the season as the team’s shortstop when Zack Cozart injured his knee.  That left Iribarren and right fielder Scott Schebler in center.

The Reds could use a player like Schafer.  He could come in on a minor league deal and stay in Triple-A if there was no need for him to start the season in Cincinnati.  The Reds do not need a true center field back-up until they trade Cozart or Hamilton wears down again.

As a left-handed hitter Schafer would have provided good support for Adam Duvall in left.  It also would have made him a decent choice for a bat off of the bench.  Most of the players that the Reds like as bench players bat right handed.

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While it won’t be Schafer, but rather another veteran outfielder, the Reds could definitely improve their roster by adding a minor league center fielder.  Peraza is a nice choice as a super sub, but his future is starting everyday.  In the mean time the Reds’ depth will remain questionable.