Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Twins Have An Oswaldo Arcia Sized Problem

Coming into the 2016 Major League Baseball season, Oswaldo Arcia was already on the outs with the Minnesota Twins. He was out of options and Minnesota seemed to be squeezing him out of their plans. With Miguel Sano heading to the outfield and Byung Ho Park taking over designated hitter at bats, playing time would be hard to come by. That narrative couldn't be more true over one-third of the way through the season.

Through June 15, Oswaldo Arcia has gotten into just 32 games for the Twins. He's totaled 103 at bats, and he's drawn just 27 starts. The 25 year-old Venezuelan owns a .214/.289/.369 slash line, and his .658 OPS is the lowest total of his four-year major league career. What's worth wondering however, is what to make of it all?

Sure, Arcia's numbers at the plate leave something to be desired. However, he's started back to back games just 11 times in 64 games for Minnesota. Since May 15, he's made just seven starts through 27 games despite the struggles of teammate Byung Ho Park. To summarize the situation, his opportunities, when they've been present, have been few and far between. At the end of the day though, that's kind of how a guy operating without options experiences the big leagues.

So, what do the Twins do with Arcia? He's posted a positive fWAR just once over the past four seasons, and that was a 0.9 mark in 2014. He's been worth -0.5 fWAR thus far in 2016, and his defensive ability (or lack thereof) is always going to be a detriment. In 2016, Arcia has posted a -4 DRS thus far. In his two most complete MLB seasons (2013/14), Arcia owned -16 and -9 DRS marks respectively. An offensive asset more in thought than reality, and a defensive liability, the Twins decision making time is looming.

That reality is only being compounded as Eddie Rosario is currently tearing up Triple-A. Sure, Rosario still isn't walking hardly at all, and his plate approach leaves an incredible amount to be desired at the big league level. Looking at what they've both put forth for the Twins however, it's a tough argument to suggest Rosario doesn't bring more to the table. Complicating things however, is that Rosario shouldn't come up to overtake Arcia's role.

As things stand, only Byron Buxton and Max Kepler should be considered realistic cogs of the Twins future outfield. Both have tremendous upside and need to be given the duration of the 2016 season to get acclimated to the level Minnesota needs them to compete at. Despite both of their struggles, neither has anything left to learn at Triple-A. Swapping either player with Rosario would be a tremendous gaffe of the Twins end, and one that should remain out of the equation.

Whether Minnesota is open to switching out Arcia for Rosario or not remains to be seen. The latter could rotate playing time with Kepler and would almost assuredly find himself in the field more often than Arcia has. A summer trade of breakout minor league signee Robbie Grossman could open up a spot as well. Regardless of what shuffle takes place, it appears Arcia should likely be the one to go.

There's less than a zero percent chance that a major league team would put a waiver claim in on Oswaldo Arcia. He's a 25 year old power hitter that some organization is going to view as a prospect they can unlock. It may very well happen, and it would be unfortunate for the Twins to see it take place. However, much like Grossman, sometimes those situations just need to play out.

Whether it's ideal or not, sometimes players just find themselves when presented a different set of circumstances. Minnesota seems to have hit the proverbial jackpot with Robbie Grossman, and Oswaldo Arcia affording another organization that opportunity isn't a death sentence. If time is up for Arcia in Minnesota, I think it's ok to come to grips with that being the reality.

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