Just seven months ago, both were signed to Minor League contracts and fighting for a roster spot as non-roster invitees to Spring Training. Blanco and Arias both signed with the Giants following winning MVP honors in their respective winter leagues. Blanco was named the MVP of the Venezuelan Winter League, where he played with fellow Giant Hector Sanchez, while Arias caught the eye of Giants hitting coach Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens while winning MVP honors of the Dominican Winter League.
After being the everyday right fielder for half of the season, Blanco is now in a platoon with Xavier Nady in left field, while Arias has proven to be a valuable utility infielder on the Giants' bench.
"You keep pushing in this game, and Joaquin had a great winter ball in the Dominican and he opened up some eyes, as Blanco did in Venezuela," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "These guys are instrumental in our success this year, and it's a credit to them to how hard they worked in the winter and earned the invite to Spring Training and made the club. They earned it."