However bad you think Orlando Arcia has been, he’s been worse

MLB: JUN 28 Pirates at Braves

Alex Anthopoulos has a multitude of dilemmas on his hands as the trade deadline approaches. The Braves must add to their outfield help, another starting pitcher could prove beneficial, but undoubtedly the weakest link of the team over the last calendar year has been Orlando Arcia.

The Braves shortstop has proven to be more than capable defensively. That’s never been an issue with him over his career; the question has always been his bat. In his first couple of seasons with the Braves after Alex Anthopoulos acquired him from the Milwaukee Brewers, it appeared as if Kevin Seitzer had worked his magic once again. He was an above average major-league hitter in 2022 for the first time in his career — according to OPS+ — as a fill-in for Ozzie Albies at second base. He then followed it up with a first half in 2023 worthy of him starting at shortstop for the National League All-Star team.

Unfortunately, it’s been all downhill from there. In the final two months of the 2023 campaign, Orlando Arcia hit .191 in 47 games. To this point this season, he’s hitting just .206. Over his last 505 plate appearances dating back to August 11th of last year, Arcia is hitting just .201 with a 52 wRC+ (48% below league average).

Let me be clear, Orlando Arcia would have to be Andrelton Simmons with the glove to make up for that kind of offense. He’s not even close to that, and frankly, he’s been a below average defensive shortstop for a large part of the season. Combine that with him being an offensive zero, and over his last 70 games, Orlando Arcia has been the WORST player in baseball for going on three months.

So, for the people out there still convinced that Arcia’s defense is somehow making up for him being an automatic out every time he steps up to the plate, hopefully, that can be put to rest.

Orlando Arcia needs to be replaced, but that’s much easier said than done. Nacho Alvarez is obviously impressing on the farm, recording a .963 OPS over his first 23 games in Gwinnett. Still, that’s a minuscule sample size that’s bound for regression, and the difference between AAA and the majors is night and day, just ask Arcia. Handing the keys to a 21-year-old with less than a season under his belt above the High-A level is a risk I’m not sure the Braves can take.

That leaves the trade deadline, and it’s very possible there aren’t any starting options available. Bo Bichette is a name that’s been floated, but he’s really a second baseman playing out of position at this point in his career. The combination of he and Ozzie Albies up the middle defensively would be a nightmare for the Braves pitching staff.

It’s a difficult situation for Alex Anthopoulos to navigate, but there’s a reason he’s considered one of the best in the business. He finds options that nobody is even considering, and it usually ends up working. Nobody should be caught off guard if he does it again at this year’s trade deadline.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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