Friday, June 17, 2016

The Oswaldo Arcia Era Ends For Twins

Following their 46th loss of the season, Paul Molitor informed reported that the Minnesota Twins would be welcoming Danny Santana back after a rehab assignment. That move was also met with the announcement that Minnesota would designate Oswaldo Arcia for assignment, his time with the Twins has come to an end. It might be a mercy rule for both sides however, as both parties deserved better.

For the Twins, Arcia was signed as an amateur free agent back in 2007. He landed on prospect lists prior to the 2013 season, and saw his highest ranking at 41st on Baseball America's list. A hulking slugger, he was never expected to play the field well, but the belief was that his back would make up for his defensive deficiencies. In part that happened for the Twins, but not significantly enough for a guy who has been worth -31 DRS across nearly 2,000 major league innings.

Over the course of his Twins career, Arcia has been worth a combined -0.5 fWAR. He hit 40 homers and ripped 37 doubles. His career .240/.303/.429 slash line was reflective of a guy that faded from 34 homers across his first two seasons. Summarizing his time with the Twins, Minnesota would be hard pressed to put a word other than underwhelming on it.

For Arcia, the story is similar, his time having to interact with the Twins has to feel underwhelming as well. After putting up 14 and 20 home runs in his first two seasons respectively, the Twins began their bungling of Arcia's development a season ago. After just 19 games, and 58 at bats, Minnesota determined that it had seen enough. Despite a career his .276 average, Arcia's .718 OPS was a career low. He had hit just two homers, and those longballs represented his lone extra base hits. From a power threat, Minnesota expected more.

Upon being relegated to Triple-A, the notion was that Arcia had to prove it or risk spending the rest of the year in Rochester. He went on a torrid home run stretch for a brief period, but unfortunately his final slash line rested at .199/.257/.372 across 79 Triple-A contests. He hit just 12 homers on the season, and was never a realistic option for the Twins during a postseason push.

To start 2016, Arcia found himself on the 25 man, in part because Minnesota wasn't yet at a point ready to cut ties. The notion that he was in DFA purgatory played out through the season's first third. In 66 games, he was given just 27 starts, and found action in a whopping 32. His 103 at bats produced a lackluster .214/.289/.369 slash line and his defense remained poor. The results were underwhelming, but so were the opportunities.

At this point, both sides deserve something better than what they have given each other. Arcia has been one of the most under-developed and poorly used Twins in the past two seasons. When given opportunities however few and far between though, he's done little to mark that reality more of a focus. Right now, the best thing is for a separation of the two.

That scenario should be expected to play out. Still just 25 years old, Arcia is the kind of guy that plenty of big league teams will line up to take a flier on. In fact, a fit could come within the Twins division. With the Detroit Tigers recently losing J.D. Martinez, a poor fielder and good slugger in his own right, Arcia fits the profile on a much lesser scale. In fact, the Tigers might be able to see a former prospect of their own in the failed Twin.

Back in 2013, Avisail Garcia found himself on Baseball America's top 100 list, at number 74, behind Arcia. Once nicknamed "Minny Miggy," Garcia has never really been more than just a guy. Now playing with the White Sox, his career .695 OPS lags behind the .732 of Arcia's. Garcia has never matched Oswaldo's home run numbers, and Detroit was willing to give their former failed prospect 53 games worth of work from 2012-13. The Tigers could do a lot worse than a quick flier on someone they have seen plenty of over the past four years.

Regardless of where Oswaldo Arcia winds up, he shouldn't be expected to be David Ortiz 2.0 for the Twins. Although he won't spurn them to that level, Minnesota shouldn't find themselves off the hook either. They operated with a poor plan in regards to the Venezuelan, and what could have been will likely remain a question for a while.

If there's one good thing that comes out of this for the Twins, it's that the commitment to the kids seems to have taken a hold. Both Max Kepler and Byron Buxton remain on the big league roster. Rather than being sent back to Triple-A, the organization realizes it's time for them to sink or swim, and allowing them to figure it out against the highest level of competition is a must.

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