Joaquin Arias, utility infielder, perfect-game completer, and error-inducing hero, is no longer on the Giants' active roster. To make room for Norichika Aoki, the Giants designated Arias for assignment.
On one hand, the move is probably long overdue. Arias didn't do anything that Ehire Adrianza could not, and almost certainly did several things worse. He lacked a noticeable tool or skill, relative to his peers, and his hitting declined in each of the last four seasons. He was 12-for-58 this season, and at the risk of piling on, some of those dozen hits weren't exactly clobbered.
On the other hand, it's always kind of a drag to watch a long-time Giant get the boot. He'll always be associated with two very special Giants moments:
"Arias, from deep thirrrrrrrrrd" will always be one of the great Giants calls, which means Arias has a leg up on dozens of the more forgettable utility players who came before him, in historical relevance if not talent. More than that, though, he was excellent in 2012. It's easy to forget that now, considering just how far he's fallen, but he hit .270/.304/.389 with five homers over 319 at-bats, filling in for injuries all over the infield. It was worth a cool win, and those at-bats could have gone to someone far, far worse. Like the current version of Arias, but I already said I didn't want to pile on.
He has a career .417 average in the postseason, too, you know. Danged hero, really.
Arias will probably pass through waivers, considering he's making a more than the minimum salary for replacement-player production, so this isn't goodbye. Not yet. He could be back in September, when rosters expand. But barring unforeseen developments, this is probably the end of Arias being a key part of the Giants' bench.
When Hector Sanchez wanted to bite that Padres reliever's nose off, it was Arias who was holding him back. You knew his teammates respected him, and that if he weren't a solid teammate he would have been on his fourth team by now. It seemed like it was the most reasonable roster move to make from a baseball perspective, but I didn't actually think the Giants would do it because of the clubhouse perspective. Sometimes, though, the production is just too poor, and the corresponding move is just too obvious.