It’s no secret Orlando Arcia hasn’t quite lived up to the top prospect status he once claimed. He has had back-to-back bad seasons that even saw him land in AAA for a chunk of 2018. However, we’ve also seen a solid version of Orlando Arcia back in 2017. The Brewers have a tough choice staring them down this offseason regarding Arcia. They will have to decide whether they will tender him a new contract and hand him the shortstop keys once again, or they will non-tender him and move on.
Keeping Orlando Arcia
Moving on from a 25-year-old would be tough, especially when you consider the season, he had in 2017. Arcia had an OPS of .731 and showed everyone what a slick fielder he is and could be in the future. However, Arcia has posted a negative WAR these last 2 seasons per Fangraphs. He hit a low this year being the league’s worst qualified hitter. He had a league low in wRC+ of 61 and was also last in OPS (.633). Orlando also saw a dip in defensive production he was 10th among shortstops in errors with 14. He’s also in-line for a raise being arbitration eligible for the first time in his career. Arcia trending in the wrong direction is what’s put the Brewers into this situation. He can still turn this around and be the player Brewer fans have always hoped for. Again, he’s only 25 and some young players take a few years to put it all together. Justin Turner posted an OPS under .700 in 301 games with the Mets and only 8 homeruns. He then changed his swing and became a hitter that has had his OPS consistently above .800. Jose Bautista was just an average MLB player before making minor changes to his swing and changing his approach turned him into an MVP candidate. These are just a couple of examples of why it’s dangerous to give up on players.
Bringing in a Free Agent
The free agent class at Shortstop isn’t vast, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some tempting options here. The first option is Didi Gregorius. Gregorius has had 20 or more homeruns in 3 of the last 4 years. The exception being this season, but that’s due to the fact he only played 82 games while recovering from Tommy John’s surgery. Didi still managed to hit 16 this year despite missing that many games. He is a pure pull hitter and would benefit from playing half his games at Miller Park just like Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas, and Travis Shaw all have.
The next is Jose Iglesias who the Brewers were rumored to be interested in that offseason. Iglesias ended up signing a minor league contract with the Reds. He ended up making the big-league club out of Spring Training and played in 146 games for the Reds this season. He played solid defense all season collecting only 9 errors. Iglesias is also a contact hitter, striking out only 13.2% of the time this is 6.8% less than Orlando Arcia did last season. Iglesias posted a WAR of 1.6 according to Fangraphs.
Finally, we have Freddy Galvis. Galvis started the season with the Blue Jays after signing a one-year contract in the offseason. He played 115 games for the Blue Jays. The switch-hitting shortstop hit 18 homeruns for the Blue Jays in that span. However, with the Blue Jays opting to go young Galvis was placed on waivers and claimed by the Reds in August. In 32 games with the Reds Galvis played both short and 2nd base. Galvis is strikeout prone posting a 24.6 % rate. Galvis is known however more for his glove. He only committed 6 errors in 110 games at shortstop. He was also a Gold Glove finalist in 2018 as the shortstop of the San Diego Padres.
Acquiring a SS via Trade
This option is made difficult to think of and see happen. Players like Francisco Lindor and Trevor Story may be too tough to pry away for their current teams based on the status of the Brewers farm system. The rest of teams that may sell it’s tough to find a match. Teams like Seattle, Toronto, and Miami have their shortstops of the future and won’t be moving on anytime soon. However, with David Stearns you never know what he has up his sleeve or who he sees as undervalued and snaps up for cheap.
Finally, we look at options within the organization. After trading Mauricio Dubon and then removing Hernan Perez from the 40-man roster this looks like the least likely option of the 4. The Brewers do have Tyler Saladino and Cory Spangenberg as options. However, both are arbitration eligible and it’s unknown if the Brewers with even tender them contracts. Finally, Brice Turang is nowhere near ready for the majors and will likely start the year in High-A where he finished this last season.
The Brewers have been too good these last 2 seasons to be held back so much at a particular position. David Stearns may have to get creative if he wants to find a star at the position, but there are also quality options that could be huge upgrades for cheap as well. The time is now to find a more productive Shortstop. Whether they believe that shortstop is a more mature and improved Orlando Arcia, or an outside option remains to be seen.