Braves acquire Arcia from Crew for 2 RHPs

April 6th, 2021

Given a chance to use their pitching surplus to add versatile infield depth to their organization, the Braves traded right-handed relievers Chad Sobotka and Patrick Weigel to the Brewers in exchange for .

After the deal was announced on Tuesday, the Braves revealed Arcia has been optioned to the team’s alternate training site, which is Triple-A Gwinnett’s Coolray Field. The former highly-regarded prospect will fill a bench spot whenever he is needed on Atlanta’s roster.

“I was a little surprised he was available,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Any time you can upgrade and add depth to the shortstop position, it’s really a good move. If you can play shortstop, you can usually move those guys around the diamond. He’s had some good years.”

Arcia was the Brewers’ Opening Day shortstop from 2017-2020, but he hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him in '16, when he made his MLB debut as Milwaukee’s top prospect and an MLB Pipeline Top 100 prospect. The Brewers moved Arcia to third base this year, and began utilizing Luis Urías as their everyday shortstop.

Arcia has hit .244 and produced a .658 OPS over 1,876 career plate appearances. He produced a pair of 15-homer seasons (2017 and 2019), but the 26-year-old infielder has never produced an OPS+ above 96 and his career OPS+ of 72 shows he has been a well below-average offensive player.

Even so, the Braves took advantage of the chance to part ways with two Minor League relievers in order to gain an infielder who has the potential to provide more than Ehire Adrianza and Johan Camargo.

Camargo was optioned at the end of Spring Training, but he was recalled on Saturday because Adrianza had to go through COVID-19 protocols, after leaving Philadelphia to take his citizenship test. Adrianza is expected to be activated before Friday’s home opener against the Phillies.

“I think this is a really good acquisition for us,” Snitker said.

Weigel still seems have some upside, but he has struggled to regain his arm strength and command since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2017. The 26-year-old hurler made four appearances for the Gulf Coast League team in '18 and then showed some promise as a starter for Double-A Mississippi and Gwinnett in '19. He allowed six hits and issued three walks while facing just 15 batters during Spring Training this year.

Sobotka created a tremendous buzz when he finished 2018 with a flurry and earned a spot on the postseason roster, but since recording 21 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings in that debut season, he has issued 21 walks and posted a 6.89 ERA over 32 2/3 innings. He surrendered four hits and issued four walks while facing just 14 batters in Spring Training.

Martin update
Snitker said was unavailable for Tuesday afternoon’s game against the Nationals, but he didn’t seem to think Martin would need to be placed on the injured list. The veteran reliever exited Sunday’s loss to the Phillies due to numbness in his fingers.

“It doesn’t sound like it’s anything great or big, but enough for him to be day-to-day,” Snitker said.

Bullpen game
Snitker is still planning to go with a bullpen game to complete one of Wednesday’s doubleheader matches. The Game 1 starter will likely be , who would be asked to pitch through the Washington lineup at least once in what will be a seven-inning game. will start the other end of the doubleheader.

The Braves will select a member of their taxi squad to be the 27th man during the doubleheader. Catcher William Contreras and outfielder Guillermo Heredia are among the candidates.