According to the Star Tribune's Phil Miller, the Twins have elected to call up red-hot prospect Oswaldo Arcia
from Triple-A. It appears that Arcia's major-league debut will be a brief one – just a few days while backup outfielder Wilkin Ramirez is away for the birth of his child – but still the decision carries many levels of intrigue.
Arcia is an exciting yet curious choice as a roster fill-in. Typically in a situation like this, a team will simply call up a body to provide depth, especially when the departing player is a fifth outfielder. Instead, the Twins have opted for one of their top prospects, a fast-tracked 21-year-old with 78 games of experience above Single-A.
Arcia will likely be in the starting lineup on Monday and for the rest of the Angels series; you don't call a player like this up to put him on the bench. He'll become the youngest player to debut for the Twins since Joe Mauer back in 2004.
I can't imagine the Twins will play Arcia in center, so,if I'm correct, subbing him for Aaron Hicks isn't really an option. That means Ron Gardenhire will have to shuffle his lineup around a bit to find room for the hot prospect. Maybe Gardenhire will have him spell Chris Parmelee in right field one day, then try him in left while sliding Willingham to DH the next. Meanwhile, a Rochester team that's gotten off to a rough start loses its best hitter for a short spell.
Seems like a lot of to-do when the kid is only going to be up for three days, but this is clearly signifies that the Twins want to get a look at Arcia in the majors, and now. It also might be a sign that they're looking to sway the public sentiment surrounding their product.
With depressing mid-April snow showering the Twin Cities, the organization has been weathering an early-season storm of its own. The team has tanked after a nice start, with five straight losses marked by dreadful starting pitching, frustrating miscues in the field and repeated missed opportunities at the plate. Their heralded rookie center fielder has been an unmitigated disaster. They've also been dealing with painfully low turnout and blowback from their batting practice PR blunder.
The Twins needed some sort of positive spark to turn the tide, and while this likely wasn't the driving factor in Arcia's promotion, it's an unmistakable side benefit. After impressing coaches in spring training (I heard rumblings in Ft. Myers of Gardenhire's adoration), the young outfielder has opened his season in Rochester by obliterating Triple-A pitching, with a .414/.500/.793 hitting line to go along with three homers and eight RBI through nine games. While some prospects in the lower minors have gotten off to good starts, Arcia is knocking on the door at the highest level and is clearly the system's headliner right now.
And so the club will take advantage of this opportunity to showcase that headliner, if only for one series. The question that now arises is this: What do the Twins do if Arcia comes up and absolutely rakes for three games? Sending him back down negates the good vibes created by his hopefully auspicious arrival yet there's no path to long-term regular playing time with the big-league club. Willingham and Parmelee are locked into the outfield corners, and Doumit is going to get the majority of at-bats at DH.
Of course, this wouldn't necessarily be a bad problem to have. Rather than seeking to downplay any stir created by Arcia's fast start and the disappointing early returns from the lineup, the Twins are actively fanning the flames, especially if the rook makes an impact at Target Field this week.
Maybe that's the whole point. A message is being sent not only to Arcia, whose thunderous bat is being noticed and rewarded, but also to the players in the Twins' lineup who have been scuffling early on.