Saturday, April 27, 2013

Using Oswaldo Arcia

Oswaldo Arcia has hit two three-run homers since his
call up; the rest of the roster has zero for the season.
When Darin Mastroianni went on the disabled list, Oswaldo Arcia was called up. This is not a simple swapout; Mastroianni is a fourth outfielder, and Arcia is something more.

There are organizations for whom Arcia would be the top prospect, or at least the top position player prospect. In the Twins system — regarded by Baseball America as the game's richest in position players — the 21-year-old (turns 22 on May 8) clearly ranks below the likes of Miguel Sano and Bryon Buxton. But Arcia's a talented hitter who figures to be a middle-of-the-order thumper on the next good Twins team.

So Terry Ryan and Co. didn't bring him to Minnesota to sit. Wherever he is, he's gonna play. And he has — on Friday he bopped his second home run of the week.

Fitting him into the current lineup means sitting somebody in the corner outfield-first base-catcher-designated hitter nexus. Arcia gives them six players for five lineup slots. And just as we know the Twins don't want Arcia rusting on the bench, we know Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham aren't sitting to make room either. (Arcia did pick up a couple of starts in Willingham's stead when Willingham had an illness, but that was about health matters, not about making room for Arcia.)

That leaves Chris Parmelee and Ryan Doumit, and so far it's been Doumit losing time to Arcia.

I'm fine with that. My core thought about the 2013 Twins is that all decisions ought to be made with an eye to the future, and one of the things that has to be accomplished is giving Parmelee enough playing time to decide what he is. Is he a good enough hitter to be a regular on a good team, or is he a platoon guy/second division regular?

Either seems possible. Parmelee's 25; the Twins owe it to themselves to find out what they have in the former first-round pick. Doumit's 32 and has a well-established track record. (Neither is hitting much so far.)

How long the Twins will try to juggle six players for five positions is unknown. I don't expect this arrangement to last all season. Maybe somebody gets traded, maybe somebody gets hurt, maybe Arcia goes back to Triple A. One way or another, something will change.

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