The Giants have acquired infielder Donovan Walton from the Mariners in exchange for pitching prospect Prelander Berroa, according to announcements from both teams. San Francisco has designated first baseman Mike Ford for assignment to clear space on the 40-man roster.
Walton, 28 later this month, has appeared in the majors in each of the past four seasons. He’s tallied just 102 cumulative plate appearances across 37 games, though, and his only MLB outing this year saw him enter as a pinch-runner. A left-handed hitter, Walton has posted a modest .196/.260/.315 showing in the majors.
The Oklahoma State product has a more robust body of work in the minors, where he’s a .287/.375/.427 hitter in parts of six seasons. That includes a .302/.391/.518 line in just shy of 400 trips to the plate at Triple-A, and Walton’s hitting .294/.368/.510 through 12 contests there this season. Perhaps of greatest import to the Giants, he’s a versatile defender who has a ton of professional experience in the middle infield. He figures to bounce around the diamond in a utility capacity for a Giants team that has dealt with injuries to both Evan Longoria and Tommy La Stella (although Longoria is making his season debut today). Walton is in his final minor league option year, meaning the Giants can shuttle him between San Francisco and Triple-A Sacramento for the remainder of the season if he sticks on the 40-man roster.
Walton, somewhat ironically, becomes the third infielder the Giants have acquired from Seattle in as many weeks. San Francisco also picked up Kevin Padlo on April 26 and acquired Ford on April 30. Both those deals were for cash considerations, but the M’s recoup a minor league arm in exchange for Walton.
Berroa, a 22-year-old righty, originally signed with the Twins as an amateur out of the Dominican Republic. San Francisco acquired him at the 2019 trade deadline, and he’s spent the past few seasons in the lower levels of the farm system. Baseball America named Berroa the #29 prospect in the Giants’ system over the offseason, writing that he owns a mid-upper 90s fastball and a solid slider. The outlet suggested Berroa’s control is a work of progress but that he has a chance to develop into a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Over four appearances with High-A Eugene this season, Berroa has worked 13 1/3 innings of one-run ball. He has 16 punchouts and six walks, a continuation of the high-strikeout, high-walk ways he’s shown throughout his young career. Berroa will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter if he’s not added to the Mariners’ 40-man roster.
Ford, meanwhile, suited up in just one game in black and orange. He collected a single in four plate appearances and has a .271/.417/.417 line over 60 Triple-A plate appearances this season. It’s the second time this year that Ford has been designated for assignment, as a DFA preceded the aforementioned trade from Seattle to San Francisco. The Giants will have a week to trade the 29-year-old or try to run him through outright waivers.