Every spring training has a star performance from a player outside the roster of regulars. This season, it’s Logan Schafer. The 25-year-old center fielder has excelled in the first 10 games of the spring season, notching 10 hits in 18 at bats, including three doubles and two triples. His triple-slash line of .556/.578/.944 pops off the page. Considering he doesn’t appear to have much of a role on the 2012 Brewers — Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan will man center field, and as great as Schafer has been so far, he hasn’t historically had the bat for a corner outfield spot — Schafer has been mentioned as a potential trade chip going into the season.
That is, until Doug Melvin squashed the idea yesterday:
Despite #Brewers depth in CF, GM Doug Melvin said he would not trade Logan Schafer, who has looked tremendous this spring.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 14, 2012
Although Melvin is a blackbelt in “GM speak,” this doesn’t appear to be a situation in which he will say one thing Wednesday and do the opposite Thursday. As great as Schafer has looked in the spring and as little as he projects to play in 2012, the incentive to get rid of a potential producer and a valuable form of depth just isn’t there.
For one, it’s difficult to imagine that the perception of Schafer around the league has changed much from that of a fourth outfielder. In his ranking of the Milwaukee Brewers’ system, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus described fourth outfielder as Schafer’s ceiling. As such, the Brewers cannot expect much in terms of prospects in a theoretical Schafer trade.
That leaves a trade to somehow benefit the major league club as a whole. Unlike last year’s squad, which had multiple holes at shortstop, center field — particularly before the pickup of Nyjer Morgan — third base and the bullpen, this year’s version appears to have its talent more spread out. The only obvious weakness in the field is at first base, and if Mat Gamel continues to hit as he has in spring, that weakness may not even be that huge. The 2012 Brewers lack the star power which defined the 2011 club due to the loss of Prince Fielder, but hope to make up for it with a competent left side of the infield and a far superior bench to the 2011 season, which featured far too much Mark Kotsay, Erick Almonte and Craig Counsell for anybody’s health.
So unless Schafer can be dealt for a significant upgrade at first base — something that doesn’t seem likely either — the Brewers would simply be trading Schafer for the sake of trading him. Melvin and company are happy to let him build value and serve as depth as a Brewer, and rightly so.