The Mariners have acquired right-hander Gregory Santos from the White Sox in exchange for right-hander Prelander Berroa, outfielder Zach DeLoach, and their 2024 Competitive Balance Round B draft pick (#69 overall), according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Both clubs have since announced the deals. To make room for the club’s additions on the 40-man roster, the White Sox announced that they’ve designated right-hander Lane Ramsey for assignment.
Santos, 24, entered the 2023 campaign with just 5 2/3 innings in the majors under his belt for his career but fashioned a strong rookie performance out of the White Sox bullpen last year. The right-hander posted a strong 3.39 ERA in 66 1/3 innings of work across 60 appearances for Chicago last season, and those already solid numbers are backed up by even stronger peripherals. Santos paired a solid 22.8% strikeout rate with a microscopic 5.9% walk rate last season all while generating grounders at an excellent 52.5% clip. Those quality peripheral numbers left Santos with a 2.65 FIP last year, a figure bested by only Felix Bautista, Tanner Scott, Matt Brash, and David Bednar among relief arms with at least 60 innings of work last year.
Given the presence of both Brash and flamethrowing closer Andres Munoz at the back of Seattle’s bullpen, it seems unlikely that Santos will find himself in line for many save opportunities with the Mariners after picking up five saves in eight opportunities with the White Sox last season. That being said, Santos appears likely to step into the void created by right-hander Justin Topa’s departure from the club’s late-inning mix. Topa, who posted a 2.61 ERA and 3.15 FIP for the Mariners last year, was shipped to Minnesota last week alongside Anthony DeSclafani and two prospects in exchange for infielder Jorge Polanco. While reporting earlier this winter indicated that Santos may not be ready for Spring Training after ending the season on the injured list with elbow inflammation, MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer relays that the Mariners expect Santos to make six to eight appearances this spring in preparation for Opening Day.
In exchange for parting ways with a quality relief arm with five seasons of team control remaining, the White Sox are receiving a pair of rookie-eligible youngsters as well as what should become a third noteworthy piece in the form of the #69 selection in this year’s draft. That will be Chicago’s third pick in next year’s draft as things stand, as they will also draft the #5 and #43 selections this summer.
Berroa, 23, was acquired by the Mariners back in May of 2022 in a deal that sent Donovan Walton to San Francisco. The right-hander was listed as Seattle’s #15 prospect by MLB.com last season on the heels of a 2022 campaign that saw him post a 2.86 ERA in 26 starts split between the High-A and Double-A levels of the minors. The Mariners converted Berroa to the bullpen in 2023 and he found considerable success in the role as he punched out 36.6% of batters faced while compiling a 2.89 ERA in 65 1/3 innings of work in a return to Double-A last year. Impressive as those strikeout numbers are, Berroa’s penchant for issuing free passes stands out as a possible red flag. The righty walked 14.1% of batters faced last season and has walked at least 11.8% of opponents every year since he made the jump to full-season ball back in 2019.
Though the youngster has yet to appear at the Triple-A level to this point in his career, he got his first taste of big league action last year, with 1 2/3 scoreless innings of work across his first two appearances in the majors. There should be plenty of opportunities this season for the righty to step into a significant role in Chicago’s bullpen, where they figure to rely on the likes of John Brebbia, Tim Hill, and Garrett Crochet as late-inning options.
As for DeLoach, the 25-year-old was Seattle’s second-round pick in the 2020 draft. Early in his professional career, DeLoach struggled to create much power with his swing, clubbing just 14 home runs in each of his first two pro campaigns. The right fielder managed to improve his power output this past season, however, as he slashed .286/.387/.481 in 623 trips to the plate at the Triple-A level. While that translates to a wRC+ of just 111 in the inflated offensive environment of the Pacific Coast League, where the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate plays its games, DeLoach’s 23 homers last season still show the power potential necessary to make him a potential big league contributor as soon as this season.
While star slugger Luis Robert Jr. is locked into the everyday center field job and veteran outfielder Andrew Benintendi figures to get the lion’s share of starts in left for the White Sox this year, the club’s right field situation is far less certain. Oscar Colas was the club’s main contributor at the position last year, though he posted a brutal .216/.257/.314 slash line in 75 games with the big league club last year. As such, there’s plenty of room for either DeLoach or fellow recent addition Dominic Fletcher to seize an everyday role with the club during Spring Training later this month. That trio also figure to battle with non-roster invitees Brett Phillips and Kevin Pillar for the club’s fourth outfield role headed into Opening Day.
Making room on the 40-man roster for the additions of DeLoach and Berroa is Ramsey, a 27-year-old who made his big league debut last season. Originally acquired by the White Sox in the 23rd round of the 2018 draft, Ramsey struggled to a 5.85 ERA in 20 innings of work with the big league club last year as he struck out just 19.6% of batters faced while walking 9.8%. The club will have seven days to either trade Ramsey or attempt to pass him through waivers. If they are successful in doing so, they’ll have the opportunity to outright him to the minor leagues where he’ll remain with the club as non-roster depth headed into the 2024 campaign.