The Braves don’t necessarily need to upgrade at shortstop. Orlando Arcia is under team control for three more years at a team-friendly rate of $2 million annually, and he is coming off a season in which he was the starting shortstop in the All-Star Game. However, while his first half was stellar, he looked much more like the player he was in Milwaukee during the second half.
On June 20th, Arcia was hitting .341 with an OPS closing in on .900. He was playing like the best shortstop in the National League, but over his final 87 games, he hit just .219 with a .652 OPS. Now, you can’t completely ignore what he did over the first few months of the season, but you also can’t look at the first half of the season and ignore what he’s been offensively for his entire career.
Arcia has been an average to below average offensive player since coming into the league. His numbers in his two seasons with the Braves have been above average, especially for a good defensive shortstop, but there’s still room for improvement. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of inspiring options in the upcoming free agent class, and teams typically aren’t eager to trade a starting shortstop. But there is a name worth monitoring over the next few months, and ironically, he plays for Arcia’s former team.
Willy Adames of the Brewers is entering his final year of arbitration and is set to make a bag in the near future, especially after some of the contracts that were handed out last season. He’s not quite in the same category as Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, and Xander Bogaerts, but he’s somewhat comparable to Dansby Swanson when he became a free agent last offseason.
Adames isn’t going to hit for a high average, but he packs a lot of pop, hitting 24+ homers in each of the last three seasons. He’s miles ahead of Arcia offensively and also significantly better defensively. Adames would be an all-around upgrade, and the Brewers could be interested in dealing him if they feel like they will not be able to re-sign him.
I’m not sure how the Braves feel about Orlando Arcia. He’s been a better player with the Braves than he was with the Brewers, but he fell off a cliff at the end of last season and his antics in the NLDS were unacceptable. However, if the Braves are going to surrender top prospects for Adames’ services, they have to be at least open to the idea of paying him. Given how they approached the situation with Dansby Swanson, I’m not sure that’s something they are willing to do, especially given Arcia is under contract at such an affordable rate through 2026.
Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire