Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The outfielder who isn't there

Most of my posts in recent days have been about which outfielders are playing. Is Torii Hunter in the lineup, or is it the "outfield of the future" -- Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Aaron Hicks?

Forgotten is the Opening Day left fielder, Oswaldo Arcia. He got hurt early, was sent to Triple A on a rehab assignment, then optioned out. He never made it back to the big club, not even as a September callup, And even a cursory look at his numbers with Rochester -- a slash line of .199/.257/.372 -- tells us he didn't deserve to return.

We've seen his power. We've also seen his flaws. He's a poor defensive outfielder. He doesn't hit lefties at all. His strike zone judgment is lacking. None of that has changed.

Arcia poses an interesting roster challenge for the Twins this offseason.

Question: How does he fit in the Twins plans for 2016? My answer: He doesn't.

It's not just the Buxton-Hicks-Rosario trio of multi-tooled outfielders ahead of him. There is also Max Kepler, who dominated the Double-A Southern League and is likely to be called up once Chattanooga is finished with the playoffs. I can't see how Arcia can return to the head of the line for a regular job.

Even as a bench player, Arcia is a poor fit because he has just one tool worth deploying, He has more power than Shane Robinson, but Robinson does everything else on the field better. There was a time when a team could carry a platoon DH, but not now, not if that team has the now conventional 12- to 13-man pitching staff.

Question: What's his trade value? My answer: Practically none.

Arcia isn't even appealing as a "lottery ticket" because (a) he's on a 40-man roster and (b) out of options in 2016. That means he either makes his team's major league roster out of camp or is exposed to waivers. Nobody's going to trade for him on the basis of we can stash him in Triple A and see if he figures it out. That period of his career is done.

Question: Is there any point in the Twins keeping him on the 40-man roster this winter? My answer: I'd hate to lose a player in Rule 5 in November because a 40-man spot was tied up in Arcia. If I had a vote, I would cast it for waiving him now and see if he clears. He's going to get waived before April one way or another; I say do it early and increase the roster flexibility. He's certainly more valuable on a minor league contract than on a major league one at this point.

Arcia is still only 24. There's still a chance he will find himself. But he is deservedly much further down the depth chart today than he was six months ago, and he's about out of time with the Twins.

1 comment:

  1. I thought he was his own worst enemy when he was here. Swings for the longest HR's practically each At Bat.

    I would not keep h either.

    He could have corrected his shortcomings.

    He will probably have a post Twins career and have value to some team.

    But, how can he force his way onto the Twins future lineup if he is too hard headed to change?

    Sort of like David Ortiz?