How long can the Braves afford to keep sticking with Orlando Arcia at shortstop?

Orlando Arcia's struggles in 2024 go back much further and that presents a real problem.

Atlanta Braves v New York Yankees
Atlanta Braves v New York Yankees / Luke Hales/GettyImages

For the last couple of games, the Atlanta Braves have been without Orlando Arcia as he recovers from a bout of dizziness that forced him out of Monday's game early. Given that the situation was scary enough to warrant Arcia getting checked out at the local hospital, it was great to hear that he was available off the bench for the second half of yesterday's doubleheader against St. Louis.

Ignoring Arcia's recent health issues which sort of muddy the waters a bit, the fact remains that Arcia has not played well this year. At all. In fact, his struggles this season are so widespread that it is fair to wonder just how much longer the Braves should keep playing him every day unless he starts to show some sort of progress.

Orlando Arcia's struggles could necessitate a change at shortstop for the Braves

Very early on in the season, Arcia looked like he was on his way a tremendous season in 2024. However, what actually happened is that he has been among the Braves' worst lineup regulars. Just look at his production at the plate











Not only are those numbers a significant dropoff from his season averages from the last couple of years, but they are also just objectively terrible no matter how you look at them. Arcia isn't walking, he isn't impacting the ball often, and he has looked completely lost at the plate this season for long stretches. Against every type of pitch, he has regressed in a big way and his Statcast profile is a horror show. While his defense has come around after a rough start with 4 Outs Above Average for the season, that defensive production hasn't been enough to offset how bad he has been at the plate.

If this was just a small sample, it would be easy to write it off and assume that Arcia would eventually bounce back. However, Arcia's struggles actually go back to the second half of 2023 as he posted just a .713 OPS while hitting .235 after playing well enough in the first half to make the All-Star team. In short, something has been very off with Arcia for a while now and his numbers are starting to look a lot like the terrible lines he was posting with the Brewers before the Braves traded for him.

With Arcia under contract through 2025 with a club option for 2026 (albeit on a very inexpensive deal), the Braves have some choices to make. Zack Short and Luke Williams are not long-term solutions in all likelihood if Atlanta decides they need to get Arcia out of the lineup unfortunately.

One potentially fun solution would be to promote infield prospect Nacho Alvarez in the near future, although giving him some more seasoning against advanced pitchers in the minors is probably wise since he has struggled to consistently make hard contact as a pro thus far. That said, Alvarez has tremendous bat-to-ball skills and can play anywhere on the left side of the infield defensively.

In short, there isn't a clear answer as to what the Braves should do with Arcia. He has been a good player with the Braves, but his slump has been going on for a while now. Perhaps there is an adjustment he can make to get back to his former glory, but something needs to change and soon.

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