The SF Giants made a lot of trades with the Seattle Mariners last year. Some moves helped, some moves did not, and others were inconsequential. One trade was a head-scratcher at the time and it looks even worse just six months later. That trade would be the trade that sent pitching prospect Prelander Berroa to the Mariners for middle infielder Donovan Walton.
Former SF Giants pitching prospect added to Mariners 40-man roster
This move was tough to explain as Berroa had emerged as one of the better pitching prospects in the Giants organization. Perhaps, the front office concluded early on that the defense needed a lot of help and adding Walton would give them middle infield depth.
Many position players on the roster had experience at multiple positions, but few were good at any position in partiular. In the case of Walton, he had experience at multiple positions and he graded out neutrally at several positions. That grade was a huge improvement over some of gloves that they used in the field.
Nevertheless, it did not make much of a difference as the left-handed bat slashed .158/.179/.303 (33 OPS+) with one home run, eight RBI, and eight runs in 78 plate appearances. Oddly enough, nine of his 12 hits went for extra bases.
On the other hand, Berroa was eligible for the Rule 5 draft this upcoming winter, so perhaps, the Giants decided early on that they were not going to add him to the 40-man roster, so they shipped him away.
The right-handed pitcher had not pitched above High-A at the time of the trade, so there was a pretty steep development curve for him to climb to even be a candidate for the 40-man roster. Berroa registered a 2.41 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 13.9 K/9, and a 2.53 SO/W ratio in 13 appearances for the Mariners' High-A affiliate before receiving a promotion to Double-A.
With Double-A, the 22-year-old posted a 4.37 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 13.6 K/9, and a 2.12 SO/W ratio in nine starts. The Mariners were impressed by what they saw as they added him to the 40-man roster according to Ryan Davish of the Seattle Times.
This protects Berroa from the Rule 5 draft in December. Teams, including the Giants, will need to decide which players they want to protect from the Rule 5 draft by November 15.