The Atlanta Braves have claimed outfielder Jordan Schafer off waivers from the Astros. Schafer not only gets to stay in the National League, he will be returning to the team that drafted him and brought him to the big leagues. Schafer spent more than six years in the Atlanta organization before being dealt to the Astros in the Michael Bourn trade in 2011. A highly touted prospect a few years earlier, Schafer was nothing more than a throw-in in the trade that sent Bourn to Atlanta.
With Bourn testing the Free Agent market this winter the Braves will bring back Schafer and give him a chance to compete for a job. This is a surprise for me. I’m not at all surprised that the Astros sent Schafer on his way but I am quite surprised that the Braves are bringing him back.
Schafer has had his share of off-the-field troubles with both the Braves and the Astros. A 50-game suspension for violating the leagues banned substances policy and an arrest for possession of marijuana have raised questions about Schafer in the past.
A scorching start to the 2012 season had Astros fans wondering if maybe Schafer had learned from his latest mistake and re-dedicated himself to the game. But the hot streak didn’t last and before we knew it Schafer was back to striking out in more than one-third of his plate appearances. As the year went on, things got progressively worse for Jordan. He missed most of the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury and was passed up on the depth chart by rookie Brandon Barnes.
The acquisition of Che-Hsuan Lin off waivers from Boston last week meant that someone in the outfield had to go. That someone turned out to be Schafer. But that doesn’t mean the Astros are done maneuvering the outfield portion of the roster. In fact, the wheels are just beginning to turn. We could still see Jeff Luhnow try to upgrade through Free Agency. Who knows? Maybe the Astros will make a run at Ichiro.