"MLB journeyman Joaquin Arias has done well for the Diamondbacks this spring."
Arias has gone 6-for-16 so far in ten spring games. He will likely begin the season in Triple-A, a place where he has played 448 of his 1,484 career pro games. Arias spent much of his career bouncing from the minors to the majors before stringing together a few productive seasons as a part-timer on two Giants World Series teams.
His eternal legacy, however, will not be the two World Series. Nor will it be his time in the minor leagues. It will be his status as a historical footnote in the Alex Rodriguez trade: When the Rangers took Arias over Robinson Cano.
In February of 2004, the Yankees acquired A-Rod for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. The Rangers, no longer able to take on his contract, ate $67 million of the $179 million left on the deal to rid themselves of Rodriguez.
When it came time to select the player to be named later, the Rangers chose from a pool of about five prospects. They chose Arias. This looked like a smart choice at the time; Baseball America ranked Arias as the Yankees’ fourth-best prospect.
The only problem was that Arias never panned out for the Rangers. He played just 91 games for the team from the time of the trade until he was shipped to the Mets in 2010, spending most of the time in the minor leagues.
As that happened, Cano became the game’s best second baseman. He finished amongst the top ten in AL MVP voting every year from 2010-2014 and has a lifetime slash of .307/.356/.494. Cano’s 204 career home runs with the Yankees are more than double the amount of major league games Arias played with the Rangers.
But Cano was not the only player the Rangers passed up on in their pursuit to get rid of A-Rod. The team also passed on a package from the Red Sox that included Manny Ramirez and some pitching prospect named Jon Lester.