The Tampa Bay Rays acquired former top Twins prospect Oswaldo Arcia today for a player to be named later or cash. The Twins had designated Arcia for assignment last week after years of frustration with the 25 year old outfielder. Tampa announced that Arcia will join the Major League club, and to make room on their own 40 man roster, the Rays DFA'd 23 year old right handed reliever Andrew Bellatti.
Despite being a top 100 prospect who debuted as a 22 year old, and walloping 20 homers in his second season, Arcia has struggled to hold onto a role with the Twins. This year, the Twins brought him north out of Spring Training because he was out of options, but never gave him any playing time on a roster filled with corner guys. In 114 plate appearances, Arcia hit .214/.289/.369 with four homers. He has hit .240/.303/.429 with 40 homers for his career (in 967 plate appareances) and has a 101 OPS+.
While he has 25-30 homer power, Arcia struggles to get on base while still striking out a ton. He also doesn't hit lefties well, and is a poor defender in an outfield corner. Frankly, he'd be best suited as the strong side of a DH platoon. He has had back problems as well. Finally he's also proven to be very streaky so far in his major league career, entering into prolonged slumps that can be exceptionally frustrating to watch.
Don't give us the hard sell, Mike, you're saying. But, really, the power is legitimate, and Arcia never got the chance to have consistent playing time in Minnesota since the end of 2014. There's a good chance that, with 400 plate appearances, he'll hit 20-25 bombs and be a productive (and inexpensive) player.
With Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza, Steve Pearce, Brandon Guyer, and Mikie Mahtook all currently on the disabled list, the Rays definitely can use the help right now and give Arcia the opportunity for consistent playing time he lacked in Minnesota. He can slot in in left field, or at DH with Corey Dickerson moving to the outfield. If Logan Morrison continues to struggle, he could also potentially help at first and DH once Pearce comes back.
In spite of Arcia's warts, this is the kind of smart, low risk pickup that smart teams make, especially if they're struggling the way the Rays have this year. Arcia offers significant upside, and while there's no sense what the Rays will be giving up, it can't be much. And, as for the Twins, losing Arcia is exceptionally shortsighted for a team that is going nowhere and has trouble developing the kind of power he brings to the table. There's a pretty low chance that they'll regret parting ways with the young slugger, but on the chance that they do, fans will not let this beleaguered and overmatched front office forget it until they're hounded out of the Twin Cities.