The Orioles assigned Schafer to minor-league camp Sunday. Schafer's long odds of making the Orioles' Opening Day roster have officially come to an end, but it looks like the non-roster invitee will remain with the organization. Expect him to open the season at Triple-A Norfolk as he awaits an opportunity for a big-league promotion.
Schafer went 0-for-1 Monday against the Phillies, lowering his spring batting average to .045. It's been a tough spring at the plate for the outfielder, who entered the game with one hit in 21 at-bats, and Monday made it worse. Schafer had a home run robbed from over the right field fence by Nick Williams for the final out of the eighth inning, and he stood at first base in disbelief for so long that he congratulated Williams as the latter made his way to the dugout. A non-roster invitee, Schafer has buried any chance he had of providing outfield depth to the big league roster. The 30-year-old's production has been so dismal this spring that Schafer would need a sensational performance in the minors to even be considered for a midsummer call-up.
Schafer received a non-roster invite to spring training, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. Schafer inked a minor league deal with Baltimore in December, but didn't get the invite until mid-January. The 30-year-old outfielder appeared in 26 games for Minnesota last season, slashing .238/.342 /.317 over 74 plate appearances. Schafer was a third-round pick by Milwaukee in 2008 and spent the first five years of his career there, appearing in a career-high 134 games in 2013. The Baltimore outfield could use some depth, so with a strong showing this spring, Schafer may get on the radar for a mid-summer call-up.
Schafer signed a minor league contract with the Orioles on Thursday, SB Nation's Chris Cotillo reports. Schafer slashed .238/.342/.317 for the Twins over 74 plate appearances last season. He spent most of the season in Triple-A Rochester, where he posted a .264/.340/.361 slash line in 244 plate appearances. If he earns a call-up to the Orioles next season, he'll only be expected to provide added outfield depth.
Schafer became a free agent after declining his outright assignment to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Schafer spent 2016 splitting time between the majors and the minors, but couldn't stick with the Twins due to his hitting woes. That being said, Schafer does offer a bit of speed and a good propensity to draw walks, so he could land with a new club fairly soon. However, he doesn't project more than a Quad-A outfielder until his bat translates to the big leagues.
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