Monday, April 15, 2013

Contemplating Oswaldo Arcia

Oswaldo Arcia has
split his time in
Rochester between
right field and
designated hitter.
Wilkin Ramirez, the Twins' fifth outfielder — bench bat, really — is now on paternity leave (his wife is due to give birth in New York), and prospect Oswaldo Arcia has been called up.

Arcia can hit, and he certainly has in the early going for Triple A Rochester — .414/.500/.793 with three homers and two doubles in 29 at-bats.

I'm eager to see the kid. I'm just not sure how he'll be used in what is presumably a three-day cameo. (A player can be placed on the paternity list for up to three days, so Ramirez should be back by the end of the Angels series that ends Wednesday.)

There's no point in bringing Arcia up to freeze on the bench in the Ramirez role. If Arcia, 21, is here, he should play.

Center field in the place of the slumping Aaron Hicks is an ill fit. Arcia played some center field when he broke into the minors, but he's bigger, heavier and slower now. The Twins starting pitching is having enough trouble getting though five innings already without having a subpar defensive center fielder behind them.

An outfield of Josh Willingham-Arcia-Chris Parmelee ... I don't want to overstate it, but that might be the slowest Twins outfield I can remember. A few years ago the Twins played Michael Cuddyer in center for a couple of games, and he certainly didn't belong there either. But those games were in Wrigley Field, which has an unusual outfield configuration that squeezes the power alleys. These games will be in Target Field, and playing Arcia in center will be an invitation to triples.

More likely is using Arcia's presence to give some time off for the catchers. Use him at DH (or in an outfield corner with Willingham or Parmelee going to DH) and give Joe Mauer or Ryan Doumit a true day off.

Whatever the Twins do with Arcia in this series, it won't last long. Not unless the Twins make a quick trade of either Justin Morneau or Josh Willingham, and I really don't see that coming this early in the season.

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