The Giants announced to reporters, including Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com, that they have claimed infielder Colton Welker off waivers from the Rockies. Welker was designated for assignment by the Rockies on the heels of season-ending shoulder surgery. The Giants have recalled him from the minors and placed him on the 60-day injured list.
Welker was in the minors at the time of his injury but was occupying a spot on the 40-man roster. The Rockies could have opened that roster spot by recalling Welker and placing him on the 60-day IL. However, doing so would have entitled Welker to MLB pay and service time. The Rockies evidently preferred to clear up that roster spot without paying Welker and designated him for assignment.
The Giants, on the other hand, were willing to pay Welker in exchange for adding him to their system, something that has become a pattern of theirs in recent years. They added Luis Gonzalez and Darien Nunez in similar situations, making this the third such occasion in the past year. Welker will now collect MLB pay and service time but won’t take up a spot on the Giants’ roster.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, Welker didn’t take long to be noticed by prospect evaluators. Baseball America placed him on their list of top 30 farmhands in the Rockies’ system in 2017 and he’s been there ever since. However, he’s been slowed in recent years, as he was hit with an 80-game suspension in May of 2021 after testing positive for a banned substance. Between the pandemic wiping out the minor leagues in 2020, last year’s suspension and this year’s injury, he’s only played 62 games over the past three years.
The Giants are apparently still high on Welker, despite those setbacks. The last extended stretch of play he had was in Double-A in 2019. In 98 games there, he hit .252/.313/.408 for a wRC+ of 109. This year, he only got into ten Triple-A games but was excellent in that small sample, hitting .324/.422/.514, 135 wRC+.