In a bit of a surprise, the SF Giants had gone nearly a couple of days without making a roster move. That streak ended on Sunday as they claimed left-handed-hitting catcher Patrick Mazeika from the New York Mets.
SF Giants add left-handed-hitting catcher on waiver claim from Mets
The 40-man roster was full, so Donovan Walton was recalled and placed on the 60-day injured list with a bout of shoulder inflammation. This move removed Walton from the 40-man roster to be able to complete the waiver claim of the former Mets catcher.
The Giants acquired Walton earlier in the season from the Seattle Mariners in a trade for pitching prospect Prelander Berroa. That move could be viewed as a head-scratcher as Berroa was a quality prospect and Walton had not produced in his time with the Giants.
In 78 plate appearances, the left-handed bat slashed .158/.179/.303 (33 OPS+) with one home run, eight RBI, and eight runs. In a bit of an oddity, nine of his 12 hits in a Giants uniform went for extra bases.
Despite his struggles at the plate, Walton did show off a good glove and the defensive metrics agree. He was worth three Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) at second base and one DRS at shortstop. For a team that has struggled defensively as much as the Giants have, Walton was one of the few exceptions with the glove. The move to the 60-day injured list effectively ends his season.
In Mazeika, the Giants continue to corner the market on left-handed-hitting catchers. Whether that strategy pays off remains to be seen. However, he is the third catcher who hits from the left side that the Giants have added this season. The other two include Jose Godoy and Michael Papierski with the latter being a switch-hitter. Both have joined other teams since then.
The Mets originally drafted Mazeika in the eighth round of the 2015 draft out of Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. In seven minor league seasons, the left-handed bat has slashed .277/.371/.423 with a 10.4 percent walk rate against a 13.5 percent strikeout rate.
He debuted with the Mets in 2021 and has recorded a .190/.236/.279 line (43 OPS+) with two home runs, 12 RBI, and 10 runs in 159 plate appearances as a major leaguer. In Baseball Prospectus' Catcher Defensive Adjustment (CDA) metric, Mazeika has tallied 0.9 CDA, so he grades out as a slightly above average catcher with a solid grade in pitch framing as well.
The roster carousel continues with the Giants. Their 40-man roster has a few options at catcher including Mazeika, Austin Wynns, Joey Bart, Ford Proctor and Yermín Mercedes . Catcher is not a primary position for either Proctor or Mercedes, so it does not hurt to have a little more reliable catching depth.