Braves must replace Orlando Arcia ahead of the trade deadline

Braves Arcia

When looking at the Braves’ needs ahead of the trade deadline, outfield is the one that sticks out like a sore thumb. Adam Duvall can’t hit a right-handed pitcher to save his life, while Forrest Wall, Ramon Laureano, and Brian Anderson are barely hanging onto their major-league careers. Michael Harris II returning will provide a boost, but the Braves need to add a couple of bodies — one that can start and one that can serve as insurance at the very least in case another injury arises.

However, shortstop is quickly becoming equally as significant of a need. Anybody still pretending like Orlando Arcia is a starting caliber player is a person that’s easily fooled. The veteran shortstop essentially has one good half of baseball over his entire nine-year career, which came last season, resulting in Arcia being named an All-Star in his first year as the Braves starting shortstop.

Since then, Orlando Arcia has been the worst offensive player in baseball. That’s not an exaggeration. After getting off to a pretty hot start to the 2024 campaign, Arcia’s average is now flirting with the Mendoza Line. He’s the only qualified hitter with an on-base percentage below .250 on the season, and it’s all thanks to a more than two month stretch in which he’s hitting .166 with a wRC+ of 32 (68% below league average).

This isn’t just a cold stretch. Orlando Arcia has never been a good offensive player, and he showed the Braves that during the entire second half of last season. Sticking with him as the starting shortstop coming into the year was a mistake, and it would be one thing if he was this elite defensive shortstop, but he hasn’t even been that since the first month of the season either.

Since April, Orlando Arcia has essentially been a league average defensive shortstop that is the worst offensive player in the game. The time to replace him as the starter was six months ago, but it’s better late than never.

Nacho Alvarez has been the talk of the town since his promotion to Gwinnett a few weeks ago. In 16 games, he’s hitting .358 with nine extra-base hits and an OPS north of 1.000 for the Stripers. The Braves probably aren’t necessarily eager to rush a 21-year-old prospect to be the starting shortstop in Atlanta after just a few weeks in the minors. We saw how that worked with Vaughn Grissom, but it’s getting to the point where they might not have much of a choice.

If not Nacho Alvarez, the Braves have to add a legitimate option via trade. That won’t be easy to do, as shortstops aren’t usually dealt ahead of the deadline, but as I wrote yesterday, the Blue Jays have a couple they could be interested in trading, and both would be substantial upgrades over Orlando Arcia.

Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire

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