MLB scout roasts Giants for 'worst trade of 2022' with Prelander Berroa swap

MLB scout roasts Giants for making 'worst trade of 2022' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

When the Giants sent high-upside pitching prospect Prelander Berroa to the Seattle Mariners last season in exchange for utilityman Donovan Walton, it came as a bit of a surprise.

But San Francisco saw a versatile player in Walton, who could produce quality at-bats while providing some much-needed infield insurance.

Now, less than a year after the May 2022 trade, hard-throwing Berroa is turning heads in Mariners camp as Walton recovers from offseason shoulder surgery, prompting quite the assessment from one major league scout.

"Prelander Berroa for Donnie Walton might have been the worst trade of 2022,” an American League scout told Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times. “And it might not be close.”

Berroa originally was acquired by the Giants in the Sam Dyson trade with the Minnesota Twins in 2019.

Before Berroa was traded to Seattle, the right-hander had allowed just one run in 13 1/3 innings and struck out 16 through four appearances at High-A. In 2021, he fanned 135 batters in 98 2/3 innings for Low-A San Jose.

Walton slashed .196/.260/.315 in 92 big league at-bats with the Mariners but had posted a .375 on-base percentage with 38 homers across six minor league seasons before the trade. The 28-year-old's biggest swing of the bat for the Giants in 2022 was a monster grand slam in a June win over the Miami Marlins.

But Walton landed on the 60-day IL in August due to shoulder issues, prematurely ending his season after hitting .158/.179/.303 in 78 at-bats with San Francisco. The Giants non-tendered Walton in November but then re-signed him to a new minor league deal a month later.

Berroa impressed the Mariners in their Cactus League opener Friday, with a fastball in the upper 90s, a mid-80s slider and a revamped changeup, per Divish. Berroa struck out San Diego Padres stars like Xander Bogaerts and Nelson Cruz.

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While many view Berroa as an eventual big league reliever, Divish noted the Mariners likely will continue to work him as a starter in the minors this season ahead of a potential MLB debut. Walton will be out until May after his surgery, and the Giants certainly hope he'll be ready to contribute upon his recovery.

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