Joaquin Arias was arbitration-eligible. He asked for $1.1 million. The Giants offered him $750,000. They settled on the exact midpoint, $925,000. This has been your update on the Giants news for the week.
In celebration, let's recall the days when Arias was a super-prospect for the Yankees and Rangers, the centerpiece in a trade for a Hall-of-Famer. To do that, we'll need some quotes from Baseball America throughout the years:
Baseball America 2004
Nicknamed "Spiderman" because his arms and legs appear to be going in every direction at once, Arias displays good body control in the field. He's flashier than New York's other shortstop prospects, showing plus-plus range and speed to go with a plus arm. He has outstanding bat speed and raw power.
(Note: He was ranked over Robinson Cano in 2004.)
Baseball America 2005
Arias won't be a weak hitter, but he also won't be an animal.
(Not unless the Giants' marketing department gets their hands on him!)
The Rangers liked Stephen Drew, the top-rated position player in the 2004 draft, bt say Arias has better tools, is two years younger, and has a better chance to play shortstop in the majors. He'll start 2005 in Double-A.
(Note: Ranked over Ian Kinsler and Adrian Gonzalez)
Baseball America 2006
Like Devon White, Arias is a graceful strider who doesn't look like he's burning, but he's a plus-plus runner who can reach first base in four seconds flat from the right side.
(Note: Still ranked over Kinsler.)
Baseball America 2007
Arias always stood out for his athleticism. His plus range and plus-plus arm allow him to make sensational plays at shortstop, and he's starting to become a more consistent defender as well.
(Note: He's the #6 prospect in the system by now, and there isn't anyone super-famous behind him, but he does have a sweet, sweet mustache in the picture in the book.)
Baseball America 2007
Texas tried Arias out in center field during spring training, but he developed shoulder soreness trying to make outfield throws and was sidelined until late June. After a brief comeback attempt, Arias had arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder and was shut down for the season.
(Note: He's down to #26, barely hanging on.)
An excellent athlete with a wiry frame, Arias is a plus-plus runner but hasn't shown the instincts to be a true basestealing threat. He has a chance to be a standout defender in the middle of the field, particularly if he can regain his once-outstanding arm strength.
(Note: He's at #27 in the Rangers' system at this point, just above Clark Murphy, which is the name that prospects in the Rangers' system use when they're meeting women at shady bars.)
The point of this isn't to laugh at either Baseball America or Joaquin Arias. I'm not sure if there is a point. There was minor Arias news, and I thought, hey, lemme look through some old Prospect Handbooks. If you want to know how much that surgery really messed Arias up, make sure to read Ian Miller's piece on him from Baseball Prospectus.
Did the arm strength come back?
It came back enough. How about that plus-plus speed?
It's plus enough.
So here's to Joaquin Arias. He's not making the major-league minimum anymore! And he's also a pretty nifty complement to Brandon Crawford, all things considered. While we were complaining about Carlos Beltran, the Giants did pretty well on the minor-league free-agent market last year.