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Arcia's ascension could mean Willingham's exit

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With the Twins up and down start to the year, it is hard to know if the team will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Most likely the team will be selling. There will be plenty of talk about Justin Morneau being dealt in the coming months since his contract is up at the end of the year. Another important name to watch out for in the hot stove reports is Josh Willingham.


Willingham is coming off his best season and there might be more than one team looking to add a powerful corner bat for the stretch run. In a story published this weekend, the Boston Globe talked about the possibility of a Willingham trade.

According to one National League GM, "He's a powerful right-handed bat that any contender could stick right in the middle of their lineup and get outstanding production." He went on to say, "You'd have to give something up, but he'd be worth the expenditure. He can really hit."

ESPN's Rumor Central mentioned the Pirates as a possible trade fit. They need an upgrade in their outfield and they have some players in the minor leagues that could be enticing for the Twins. It also helps that Willingham has a very club friendly contract. He is in the second year of a three-year, $21 million deal.

Another wrinkle in the Willingham trade rumors is the ascension of stud prospect Oswaldo Arcia. It has been a whirlwind couple of days for Arcia. He made his MLB debut on Monday, he played for Rochester on Tuesday, and he got called back up to the big leagues after last night's game. Darin Mastroianni's injury will mean a longer look at Arcia this time around.

Arcia won't turn 22 until next month becoming the youngest position player to debut with the Twins since 20-year old Joe Mauer. He was killing the ball at Triple-A and he certainly deserved this call-up. In ten games for Rochester, he was hitting .394/.474/.727 with three home runs, two doubles and eight runs scored.

If Arcia kept putting up those types of numbers, it would have been hard to keep him at Triple-A. The problem for the Twins could be finding him a place in the line-up. Arcia is primarily used as a corner outfielder or designated hitter. The Twins have plenty of these types of players with Willingham, Chris Parmelee, and Ryan Doumit.

It might take a trade for Arcia to stick with the club for the long-term. Morneau could be dealt creating a spot (first base) for Parmelee to move to. Willingham could also be traded to open a hole in the outfield. Both of these men could be traded away before July and then there would be plenty of playing time for Mr. Arcia.

Things might be moving a little fast for Arcia. He started the 2012 season at the High-A level so he only played 69 games at Double-A before getting the bump to Rochester. He had a grand total of nine Triple-A games under his belt before he made his MLB debut.

There should be tempered expectations for Arcia as fans have seen how much Aaron Hicks has struggled in his first 10 big league games. The Twins need Arcia to be a cornerstone of the franchise as the team tries to get back to winning baseball. This might be just the first taste of what is yet to come.

Players are blocking the path of Arcia and he most likely will get more playing time at Triple-A. If the Twins are looking like sellers at the trade deadline, a deal including Willingham could pave the way for Arcia's permanent spot on the roster.

Willingham has done some great things in his Twins tenure but Arcia is the wave of the future.

Comments

  1. nicksaviking's Avatar
    I think the short term solution is just to give Doumit regular bench duty. His bat is better than most of the bench options the Twins typically have, but hasn't that been a concern? It would seem to me that Arcia's bat in the lineup is an improvement and Doumit's switch-hitting, multi-positional bat on the bench is an upgrade. Win on both fronts if you ask me.
  2. Badsmerf's Avatar
    Arcia will not struggle like Hicks. Completely different players, with Arcia's bat being much much better. He might not hit .300 this season as a rookie, but I don't think .280 would be out of reach. I'm very bullish on Arcia and had him as my #1 prospect to start the year.
  3. Dave T's Avatar
    I still say it's Parmalee and his .237 batting average that should be looking over his shoulder.
  4. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf
    Arcia will not struggle like Hicks. Completely different players, with Arcia's bat being much much better. He might not hit .300 this season as a rookie, but I don't think .280 would be out of reach. I'm very bullish on Arcia and had him as my #1 prospect to start the year.
    As I read the article this is pretty much what my post was going to say.
    Arcia has hit at every level better than Hicks. This is not a dis on Hicks. His play in CF has been excellent and that is primarily what they were looking for, albeit with a little more offense than they've seen.

    Arcia is going to light things up. By July, 2014 ARCIA jerseys will be common at Target Field.
  5. Steve Penz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave T
    I still say it's Parmalee and his .237 batting average that should be looking over his shoulder.
    Even if this were true, this suggestion misses what needs to be the point. Where is the highest return on making room for Arcia? Replacing somebody who has under performed in the first 13 games is off base. Making room for somebody who may have earned a promotion and at the same time getting young talent to help in the future are what is important. Arcia could be in LF if Willingham is traded and he could be in RF is Mourneau is traded and Parmalee goes to first.

    Parmalee is doing just fine in RF and I think he should stay in the line up.

    This will be exciting to watch unfold as the season continues.
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