Orlando Arcia was at it again last night, coming up with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth against the Giants. It was his second walk-off hit of the season — the first coming via home run in extra innings against the Red Sox — and just the third of the year for the Braves. Since Ozzie Albies went down with a fractured foot last week, it’s been Arcia filling in for the All-Star second baseman. So far, though, so good. Since taking over for Albies, Arcia is hitting .413 with a couple of home runs, and many of those base knocks have come in some clutch moments, like last night.
There is still the potential for the Braves to add another second base option ahead of the trade deadline, especially if Albies takes longer than expected to return. General manager Alex Anthopoulos even said the team will be looking to add a left-handed bat, who would likely platoon with Arcia. However, it’s also becoming evident that it might not be necessary. Arcia’s doing more than enough to warrant being in the lineup every day, so don’t expect any drastic changes.
Over his tenure as general manager of the Braves, Alex Anthopoulos has made a plethora of blockbuster and gutsy moves. Some have paid off, some haven’t. However, where Anthopolous has really thrived — and one of the primary reasons I believe the Braves have had so much success over the years — is with under-the-radar acquisitions. There’s a laundry list of guys that Anthopoulos has added, many that most avid baseball fans have never even heard of, who have played critical roles in recent years, and sometimes the impact isn’t felt immediately.
When Arcia was acquired early last season, it was a bit of a head-scratching decision. He had been a starter in Milwaukee that fell out of favor, and the man the Braves sent back in return — Patrick Weigel — was a talented arm in his own right. On top of that, there was nowhere for Arcia to play in Atlanta. The Braves infield, like it is today, was completely full, and we all know they don’t like to take days off. Arcia was brought in strictly to be used in emergency situations, which was never necessary last season but has become very relevant with Albies now out for over two months.
Coming into the season, the Braves’ infield depth was something I was most worried about. Arcia has put a band-aid on that concern for now, and he’s proving to be yet another genius addition from Alex Anthopoulos. As the trade deadline approaches, I don’t expect the Braves to make any blockbuster moves, but there could be a few under-the-radar acquisitions like Arcia that could pay major dividends this season or in the future.