George Arias

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George Alberto Arias

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Biographical Information[edit]

George Arias was drafted in the 7th round by the then California Angels in 1993 after hitting 23 homers (2nd in the Pac-10 Conference and in NCAA Division I, behind Ryan McGuire's 26) in his junior year for the University of Arizona. He started in mid-level class A with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and hit just .217/~.303/.399 for the club. Arias was promoted to the Lake Elsinore Storm in 1994 and hit .280/.356/.481, making the California League All-Star team at third base and tying for third in the loop with 23 home runs. In 1995, George moved up to AA with the Midland Angels, batting .279/~.357/.527. He led the Angels farm system with 104 RBI and led the Texas League in at-bats (520), runs (91), homers (30), RBI and errors at third base (29). He made the All-Star team and was voted the 6th-best league prospects by TL managers.

Having flown quickly through the Angels' system, George reached the majors in 1996. He played 80 games with the Angels in 1996, but struggled, batting .238/.284/.349 with only 6 homers and 28 RBI. He also spent time with the Vancouver Canadians with a line of .337/~.388/.547. Arias played for the Angels briefly again in 1997 before being traded to the San Diego Padres as part of a Rickey Henderson trade. He spent most of the year in AAA, batting a combined .283/~.347/.459 for Vancouver and the Las Vegas Stars. Arias played with the Padres for two more years, even appearing on the Padres' NLDS roster. He showed some promise in his last year with the Padres batting .244/.271/.421 with 7 HR and 20 RBI. In the winter of 1998-1999, he hit .311 with 10 homers for the Mexicali Eagles and was named MVP of the Mexican Pacific League. Despite this moderate level of success, Arias was let go by the Padres shortly after the end of the 1999. He continued to tear up the minors at times. In 1998, he hit .308/~.362/.651 for Las Vegas, was fourth in the minor leagues in home runs and named Padres Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. He drove in 119 runs and was named to his third league All-Star team in five years. In 1999, George batted .284/~.393/.716 in his time with the Stars, homering every 9.5 AB (10 in 95 trips to the plate) and produced 50 runs in 26 games, scoring 30 and driving in 30.

Arias signed with the Orix Blue Wave in 2000, staying two years and becoming an instant fan favorite. He displayed great power with the Blue Wave, hitting 26 then 38 bombs in his time there. With Japanese teams rarely satisfied with gaijin (foreign) players, he was let go after the 2001 season. Arias signed with the Hanshin Tigers, arguably Japan's most popular baseball team at the time, for 2002. There, he became a bigger success, batting .258/.317/.526 with 32 homers and 82 RBI his first year, earning election to his first All-Star squad. He was third in the Central League in home runs, though a good distance behind Hideki Matsui (50) and fellow gaijin Roberto Petagine (41). He led the CL with 6 sacrifice flies. He followed that with another solid year in 2003, batting .265/.334/.565 with 38 bombs and 107 RBI and making another All-Star squad, as well as his lone Best Nine and Gold Glove selections (as a first baseman). He helped lead the Tigers to the Japan Series for the first time in 18 years, serving as the cleanup hitter and only player with more than 20 homers. He was second to Alex Ramirez in RBI in the Central and third in home runs, two behind Ramirez and Tyrone Woods. His offense declined slightly in his last year with the Tigers, as he batted 'only' .271/.326/.522 with 25 homers and 84 RBI. A free swinger, he fanned over 100 times each season in Japan.

After leaving Japan, Arias signed a minor league contract with the newly minted Washington Nationals for 2005. He batted .265 (5-for-19) with no home runs and one RBI in spring training and was let go. Following that, he joined the Tijuana Colts of the Mexican League, batting .303/.384/.566 with 23 homers and 81 RBI, helping lead the team to the second-half title in the northern division after Randall Simon departed Mexico for Japan. Arias started the 2006 season with the Tijuana Colts, driving in 71 runs in 81 games and homering 19 times while batting .280/.354/.520. In late June that year, he signed with the Yomiuri Giants to fill in for the injured Hiroki Kokubo at third base. The veteran was clear not up to hitting NPB anymore, hitting .167/.219/.300 in 17 games before being sent to ni-gun about a month later and never making it back up to Yomiuri.

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