The Twins announced that they have avoided arbitration with outfielder Jordan Schafer by agreeing to a one-year, $1.55MM contract. A look at MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows that Schafer and his representatives at Relativity Baseball had filed at $1.7MM, while the team countered with a $1.4MM offer. His $1.55MM settlement is the exact midpoint of those two figures and just $50K north of the $1.5MM projection of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
The 28-year-old Schafer impressed the Twins following an August waiver claim and earned himself a spot on the 2015 roster. In 147 plate appearances with Minnesota, the former top prospect batted .285/.345/.362 with 15 stolen bases in 20 tries. Overall, Schafer batted .238/.310/.305 with 30 steals in in 240 PAs between the Twins and Braves.
Though he’s never drawn particularly strong defensive marks for his work in center field, Schafer has been average or slightly better in the outfield corners and can handle center field if needed (he has a lifetime UZR/150 of -5.4 in center).
Schafer’s most likely role in 2015 appears to be that of a fourth outfielder, but he will compete for a starting job with another former top prospect that has struggled to establish himself in the Majors: Aaron Hicks. MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger wrote two weeks ago that the center field job in Minneapolis will be “up for grabs” in Spring Training, as Danny Santana, who filled in at the position in a strong rookie season, will return to his natural position of shortstop in 2015.