The Milwaukee Brewers are in a difficult situation with Orlando Arcia. Do they keep the former top shortstop prospect or do they cut ties with him this offseason?
Every Milwaukee Brewers fan knows the narrative on Orlando Arcia; he is a great defensive shortstop, but he has been awful at the plate throughout his career. Arcia’s best season at the plate was in 2017 and even then he only had an OPS+ of 89. The league average OPS+ is 100.
Arcia has had many ups and downs with the Brewers. He was sent down to the minors in 2018 because of his struggles at the plate, but he rebounded in August and September and played very well in October, hitting .360/.600/.985 in the NLCS against the Dodgers. Arcia once again struggled to the tune of a 64 OPS+ in 2019, but posted the best hard hit percentage of his career at 33.1%.
Will the Brewers keep Arcia?
The Brewers should keep Arcia. He has been a bad hitter up to this point in his career, but he will be just 25 years old on Opening Day 2020. Arcia is the most important defensive player on the Brewers due to their reliance on shifts and his ability to play anywhere the Brewers place him in their shifts.
The Brewers will have a difficult time trading Arcia due to his poor offensive numbers. It would be just as difficult for the Brewers to cut Arcia and lose him for nothing with his slash line of .324/.342/.568 in 11 career postseason games and the lack of better internal options. Arcia is projected to only make $2.7 million in his first time through arbitration
Their best bet is to keep Arcia and hope that he can start to produce more at the plate. The Brewers traded Mauricio Dubon to the Giants for Ray Black and Drew Pomeranz. Had Dubon not been traded, then he may have served as a cheap replacement for Arcia. The Brewers do not have another shortstop like Dubon in the upper levels of the Minors that could serve as a viable replacement for Arcia.
Arcia needs to hit better as he gets older. Arcia has shown some glimpses of his ability to hit and he may continue to improve at the plate if his hard hit rate continues to rise.
Worst case scenario, Arcia provides Gold Glove caliber defense on a team that will be in the hunt for the postseason. And if the Brewers make the postseason in 2020, you can bet that Arcia will be one of their most important players in the postseason.
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Given his poor offensive production, the Milwaukee Brewers may need to find some insurance at the position to light a fire under Arcia a little bit and protect the team in case Arcia struggles again.