Back in the before time, in the long long ago, when the Royals were mere losers, forward-thinking GM Dayton Moore acquired Gregor Blanco, Jesse Chavez, and Tim Collins through the exchange route. He gave up Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth. Ankiel would go on to various other things; Farnsworth did OK for a bit, but he pitched 28.2 mostly ineffective innings for the Mets and Astros this year.
On the Royals' side, and this might make you pee your pants, Blanco, Chavez, and Collins have all accumulated some nice value. Seriously. Collins had three mostly decent relief seasons with the Royals before going all *reliever* on them this year. Chavez barely pitched for the Royals and bounced around until the Oakland Athletics magically fixed him with their magic Beanes. But we're here to talk about Gregor Blanco. Let's talk about Gregor Blanco. I like Gregor Blanco.
When the Royals acquired him, I thought he was a good get. Here was a guy who could play decent defense as well as take a walk. In his short 209 plate appearances with the Royals in 2010, Blanco had a 10.3% walk rate. I'm not entirely sure the Royals knew what a walk was back then, so they must have been confused. That's the only reason I can think of that explains their trading him to the Washington Nationals for a PTBNL*, whom Wikipedia doesn't even mention. I guess the fact that the doubles machine outfield of Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera, and Jeff Francoeur existed had something to do with it. The organization still had Mitch Maier at this time in addition to Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain in the minors. Maybe that was it.
*I can't find the PTBNL. Does anyone know who it was?
Blanco then signed a minor league contract with the Giants prior to the 2012 season. He's been a 2-3 fWAR guy ever since. Guess how he's accumulated his value? He's taken walks, played decent defense, and ran the bases pretty well. That sounds like a guy the Royals would value pretty highly. Probably, his most memorable moment was that diving catch to save Matt Cain's perfect game.
As offense has decreased around the league, Blanco has stayed just about the same, which has contributed to his meteoric rise from a 94 wRC+ in 2012 to a 107 wRC+ in 2014. He can handle any of the outfield positions while bringing a decent bat. He's a very solid contributor on a solid team.
I looked back at Royals Review's take on the trade to the Nationals. Freneau mentioned that no one would remember him in 5 years. Well, it's been only 3 years, but we remember him. Heck, we're still writing about him here. And we're in the World Series.