Saturday, December 5, 2015

Outfield options: Oswaldo Arcia

Oswaldo Arcia
reportedly turned down
an opportunity
to play in Asia next year.
Oswaldo Arcia didn't sustain a career-threatening injury in 2015. But he damaged his career enough to threaten it.

He went from a 20-homer season in 2014 and a cinch to be in the major league outfield to mired in Triple A for the vast majority of the season -- and he put up a dismal .630 OPS in Rochester. He didn't even get a September callup,

Arcia is out of options now, and in my opinion should have been waived to clear room on the 40-man roster. I think he would have cleared waivers; if not, let somebody else carry him on their 40. The Twins are being more patient than that, but the rules limit their patience; he either makes the 25-man roster out of spring training, or gets waived then.

By now you know his pluses -- genuine power from the left side of the plate, and he doesn't turn 25 until May -- and his considerable minuses, which are pretty much every other aspect of the game. He's a horrid defensive outfielder, doesn't run the bases well, hasn't hit lefties at all, can't or won't adjust as a hitter, has displayed poor strike zone judgment. He's best suited to being a platoon DH, and that doesn't work when half the roster consists of pitchers.

Despite all that, he's got a genuine chance to revive his Twins career in 2016, but he probably needs some help.

The retirement of Torii Hunter and the trade of Aaron Hicks opens two outfield slots (the other being filled by Eddie Rosario). As matters stand, those slots could/should go to Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, but  ...

  • Sano might not become an outfielder.
  • Buxton might be sent to Triple A.

Take either of them out of the equation, and Arcia's current outfield competition dwindles to Danny  Santana and Max Kepler. Kepler is more likely to get sent to Triple A than Buxton is, and Santana's status isn't much better than Arcia.

The help Arcia needs to get another genuine opportunity with the Twins is a Trevor Plouffe trade. That would take Sano out of the outfield picture. Even if Buxton is, as I think he should be, the center fielder on Opening Day, that still leaves a regular outfield job open.

One can even imagine a scenario in which  Plouffe isn't traded, Buxton and Kepler are sent to the minors, and the Twins torture their pitching staff with an outfield of Arcia and Sano flanking Rosario in center. I think it's unlikely; Paul Molitor might be willing to have one defensively challenged outfielder in the lineup, but not two.

Even if Arcia opens the season in the lineup, I expect it will be short-lived. Kepler is a better long-term bet than Arcia is. The blunt truth is, the Twins have many better alternatives for their outfield.

1 comment:

  1. Put Plouffe in RF and let him learn the position ... he played there some in '12 .. one could argue he wasn't much of a 3b then either. Too much invested in Buxton for him to play in 3A. Keep Kep as the 4th OF. My work here is done.