The Twins have made their September call-ups, and Oswaldo Arcia is not among them. Sadly, it appears that we will have to wait for our first chance to watch the heavy-hitting corner outfielder. Instead, we’ll have to content ourselves by watching Eduardo Escobar and Luis Perdomo play. Forgive me if I’m a little underwhelmed.
From an outside observer’s point of view, there does not appear to be any legitimate reason not to call up Arcia, who is already on the 40 man roster (one could make a good case for calling up Aaron Hicks as well, but Hicks is not on the roster, so that argument is more difficult). If the Twins truly are not going to bring him to Minnesota in 2012, they are making the wrong choice.
Prior to this week, the biggest reason not to call up Arcia was that the Rock Cats were fighting for an Eastern League playoff spot. If New Britain was playing deep into September, they would want Arcia around to give them a shot to win. Not only that, but the do-or-die atmosphere of the playoffs would be good experience for a young hitter. Unfortunately, the playoffs became a moot point Monday, when Reading clinched the league’s last postseason slot.
Another commonly cited argument for keeping Arcia (and other young players) down is that the organization wants future MLBers to play every day and gain experience. Once in Minnesota, Arcia probably would not be able to rack up too many at bats, since the Twins have a full roster of outfielders ahead of him on the depth chart. I agree that regular playing time would be good for Arcia, but now that the Rock Cats season is done, he will not play regularly regardless of where he goes. Even if he sits on the bench in Minnesota and only gets a handful of at bats, that’s more than the zero he would receive if he isn’t called up. Game experience aside, one would think the opportunity to work out with the Major League players and talk to the MLB coaching staff would be a positive experience as well.
A corollary to the last argument, and the one that was cited in the Star Tribune article linked above, is that Arcia would take playing time away from Chris Parmelee and Ben Revere, two young players whom the Twins want to build up for 2013 and beyond. This is a weak argument because it assumes that Parmelee and Revere are the only players Arcia could replace. Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau, and Joe Mauer are all established veterans who wouldn’t suffer if they received a few extra days off this month. Why not let Arcia DH in place of them a few times? Parmelee and Revere could bat in the same lineup. Alternatively, why not keep Arcia on the bench to use as a pinch hitter late in games? There will probably be at least a handful of games this month where someone like Alexi Casilla or Drew Butera is scheduled to bat late in a close game. Go ahead and bring up Arcia for those late game at bats, then insert a defensive replacement afterward. If the Twins use a little creativity, there’s no reason Arcia has to take playing time away from any deserving young players.
It’s possible the Twins might feel that Arcia just isn’t ready for the Big Leagues, and that bringing him up now could hinder his development or damage his confidence somehow. But given the fact Arcia hit .328/.398/.557 at AA this year, I highly doubt confidence is an issue for this guy. And it’s hard to argue that his skills are not ripe for a promotion when he has been punishing pitchers in such a brutal fashion.
As the team limps through September on its way to another rebuilding season, the Twins should be doing everything they can to fill a few extra seats and keep fans from completely losing interest. Arcia would be a bright spot for some fans to latch onto. And if there’s a better reason to snub Arcia than the ones debunked above, I’ve yet to hear the Twins express it.
Do the right thing Twins, and bring Arcia up.