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Seattle Mariners

Mariners acquire Gregory Santos from White Sox for pair of prospects and draft pick

Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Gregory Santos delivers to the Chicago Cubs in the ninth inning of a game at Wrigley Field on Aug. 16.  (Tribune News Service)
Ryan Divish Seattle Times

After a recent trade sent valued leverage reliever Justin Topa to the Twins, the Mariners filled Topa’s spot in their bullpen by acquiring a reliever from Minnesota’s American League Central rivals.

On Saturday, Seattle sent a pair of prospects — right-handed reliever Prelander Berroa and outfielder Zach DeLoach — and the No. 69 pick (a competitive balance B pick) in the 2024 draft to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for right-handed reliever Gregory Santos.

“Gregory is coming off of a season in which he established himself as one of the most exciting young relievers in MLB,” said Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry DIpoto in a statement. “His combination of high velocity, dynamic slider and groundball inducing style are all standout traits. He brings the potential for impact to a bullpen group that has been a driving force in our team’s success over the past three seasons.”

Santos, 24, made 60 appearances in 2023, which was the second-most on the White Sox. He posted a 2-2 record with a 3.39 ERA and five saves. In 66 1/3 innings pitched, Santos struck out 66 batters with 17 walks.

Per Baseball Savant’s Statcast data, one of the pitchers that Santos is most similar to in terms of pitch profile and metric is Topa.

Santos relied heavily on a hard slider that opponents hit just .196 against last season and a sinking fastball that averaged 98.9 mph. Santos threw 551 sliders last season and allowed one extra-base hit — a double. Opposing hitters swung and miss at 37.5 percent of those sliders.

He will join Matt Brash and Andres Munoz in the late-inning leverage situations. Santos has five years of club control before becoming a free agent.

Berroa, who turns 23 in April, made his MLB debut for the Mariners on July 21 last season. He made two appearances, walking three batters and striking out three in 1 1/3 innings pitched.

With a fastball that touches the high 90s and a biting slider, Berroa was considered one of the Mariners’ better relief prospects and rated as the No. 15 prospect in the organization by MLB Pipeline. But inconsistency with command and pitch efficiency kept him from being a contributor in the big leagues. He spent most of last season with Double-A Arkansas. He made 43 appearances there, posting a 5-1 record with a 2.89 ERA. In 65 1/3 innings, he struck out 101 batters with 39 walks.

DeLoach, 25, was the Mariners’ second-round pick in the shortened 2020 draft out of Texas A&M. He spent the entire 2023 season with Triple-A Tacoma, posting a .286/.387/.481 slash line with 30 doubles, two triples, 23 homers, 88 RBI, 83 walks and 173 strikeouts in 623 plate appearances.