Gregory Santos emerged as one of the top arms out of the bullpen for the Chicago White Sox in 2023.
They’ll have to look in another direction this upcoming season after trading the right-hander to the Seattle Mariners for right-handed pitcher Prelander Berroa, outfielder Zach DeLoach and a Competitive Balance B selection (the 69th pick in the 2024 draft).
It was one of two deals the Sox announced Saturday. They also acquired outfielder Dominic Fletcher from the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed pitcher Cristian Mena.
Sox general manager Chris Getz looked at the Santos’ trade in similar fashion to the November deal that sent reliever Aaron Bummer to the Atlanta Braves for five players — including infielder Nicky Lopez and starter Michael Soroka.
“We felt we were able to multiply and hopefully fill gaps and build a foundation for us moving forward,” Getz said during a video conference call Saturday evening.
Santos went 2-2 with a 3.39 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 60 relief appearances last season. He took over the closer duties for a portion of the year, collecting five saves. Santos went on the injured list on Sept. 20 with right elbow inflammation and missed the rest of the season.
“Gregory Santos, I anticipate he’s going to perform well and have a great career, I do,” Getz said. “To be able to get someone like Prelander Berroa, who’s got similar attributes, along with Zach DeLoach, who we’ve been after for some time, and then the opportunity to get a draft pick and add to our pool, that will positively affect, we hope, our draft. Both short-term and long-term, we’re able to check those boxes, or at least that’s the hope.
“It was a hard decision. To trade a Gregory Santos is not easy. There’s volatility with relievers, and to be able to add Berroa and DeLoach and the comp pick, we felt this was a sound baseball decision.”
Getz said “time will tell” who will step into the role of the closer.
Berroa, 23, appeared in two games for the Mariners in 2023, striking out three and walking three in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Berroa spent much of 2023 at Double-A Arkansas, where he had a 2.89 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 43 outings (five starts). He earned Northwest League Pitcher of the Year honors in 2022.
Berroa was rated as the No. 12 prospect in the Mariners organization by Baseball America.
Baseball America also ranked DeLoach the No. 14 prospect in the Mariners system. A second-round pick in 2020, DeLoach slashed .286/.387/.481 with 23 homers and 88 RBIs for Triple-A Tacoma in 2023. The 25-year-old bats left-handed and throws right-handed.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated right-handed pitcher Lane Ramsey for assignment. After the trade with Seattle, the Sox have the No. 5, 43 and 69 picks in the 2024 draft.
Getz said Berroa “certainly has back end potential.” And in DeLoach, the Sox are acquiring someone with “power potential.”
Fletcher gives the Sox another potential option in the outfield. He slashed .301/.350/.441 with five doubles, one triple, two home runs, 14 RBIs and 10 runs in 28 games during two stints with the Diamondbacks in 2023.
Fletcher, 26, bats and throws left-handed and played in 66 games with Triple-A Reno in last season, with whom he slashed .291/.399/.500 with 18 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 45 RBIs and 71 runs before being placed on the injured list Sept. 4 with a fractured left index finger.
Mena, 21, went 8-7 with a 4.85 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 27 starts last season between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte last season.
“(Fletcher) can help us in all different positions in the outfield – center field, right field, can spell us in left field as well,” Getz said. “Hammers righties, or has historically. And to be able to provide that type of offensive potential (and) defensive ability to the organization, we felt like was a smart baseball decision to bring him into the organization, albeit for Cristian Mena, who has a bright future.”
The Sox have an opening in right field, and Saturday’s trades provide depth.
“To say one or the other is going to be our right fielder is premature,” Getz said, “I’m just excited to have both of them in the building. Obviously, with both of those guys being left-handed, perhaps there’s an opportunity to find a right-handed hitting outfielder to pair with them or throw into that mix. We are open-minded there.
“Word got out Kevin Pillar was coming in on a minor-league deal. He’s a veteran, right-handed hitting outfielder. We’ll take a look at that spring training with all of these options and move forward with what we feel is the best for our major league club to begin the year.”