The Giants have signed four players to minor league deals, according to their transactions tracker at MLB.com. They are infielder Colton Welker and right-handers Mauricio Llovera, Sam Delaplane and Drew Strotman. All four of them were on the club’s roster until getting non-tendered earlier this month.
Welker, 25, spent his entire career with the Rockies up until recently. Colorado drafted him in the fourth round in 2016 and he made his MLB debut with the club in 2021, getting into 19 games. He required season-ending shoulder surgery in June of this year and was subsequently designated for assignment. The Giants put in a claim and held onto him for a few months but he didn’t survive the non-tender deadline.
His cup of coffee in the majors wasn’t terribly impressive, but he has strong numbers in Triple-A. In 2021, he hit .286/.378/.476 for a wRC+ of 114 and then slashed .324/.422/.514 in 2022 for a wRC+ of 136. That latter number was in just 10 games prior to the shoulder injury, but it’s still intriguing enough for the Giants. If Welker can return to health next year, he can provide some depth at the infield corners.
As for the right-handers, Llovera is the only one with major league experience. He’s spent most of his career with the Phillies thus far, including brief appearances with them in 2020 and 2021. He was outrighted in August of last year and later signed a minor league deal with the Giants, who added him to the roster in April of 2022. Over the past three seasons, he’s thrown 24 innings with a 7.13 ERA, but stronger numbers in the minors. He threw 20 Triple-A innings last year without allowing an earned run, striking out 35.9% of batters faced while walking just 5.1% of them and getting grounders on 52.3% of balls in play. He’ll look to work his way back onto the 40-man roster, though he’s now out of options and won’t be able to be easily moved on and off the active roster going forward.
As for Delaplane and Strotman, they have each made it onto major league rosters but haven’t had the opportunity to appear in an MLB game. Delaplane was a 23rd round pick of the Mariners in 2017 and got added to the club’s roster in November of 2020 to protect him from being selected in that year’s Rule 5 draft. He required Tommy John surgery in April of 2021 and then was designated for assignment, but the Giants weren’t put off by the surgery and acquired him in a trade. He made it back to the mound this year but only tossed 3 2/3 innings in Single-A. With the injury and the canceled minor league seasons in 2020, his last healthy stretch on a mound was 2019, when he pitched 37 Double-A innings with a 0.49 ERA.
Strotman was a fourth round draft pick of the Rays in 2017 who was added to their 40-man roster ahead of the 2020 Rule 5 draft. He then went to the Twins in 2021 as part of the Nelson Cruz trade. The Twins tried moving him from the rotation to the bullpen but Strotman posted a 6.44 ERA in 50 1/3 innings with their Triple-A affiliate in 2022. He was designated for assignment and went to the Rangers and Giants on waiver claims.