The status of the last of the three players designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians last week has been resolved as the team traded left-handed reliever Giovanni Soto to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations.
Soto was added on to the 40-man roster for Chicago after the Cubs transferred young slugger Kyle Schwarber from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL after tearing several ligaments in his left knee in an outfield collision earlier in the week. Soto was then optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
On Sunday, the Indians announced that outfielder James Ramsey and utility man Zach Walters had been dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash. The pair had been designated for assignment, along with Soto, prior to the team’s first regular season action to make room on the roster for Marlon Byrd, Joba Chamberlain, and Ross Detwiler.
Soto, 24, headed to Goodyear with an opportunity to make the bullpen after a brief trial in September for the Indians. The club was in need of at least one left-hander in the bullpen and his chief competition was his former Columbus Clippers teammate Kyle Crockett and free agent additions Joe Thatcher, Tom Gorzelanny, and Detwiler.
Soto’s stay in camp was short as he was one of the earlier players bumped out of the Major League portion of the spring training activities. Detwiler ultimately won the job.
Soto began his professional career in the Detroit Tigers organization after they selected him in the 21st round of the 2009 draft. He was dealt to Cleveland just one year and five days after signing with the club as the return for Indians infielder Jhonny Peralta.
Soto had worked almost exclusively as a starting pitcher early in his time in the Tribe’s minor league system. The highlight of his pro career may have been a nine inning no-hitter he tossed while a member of the Indians’ Akron Aeros affiliate in 2012. Following the season, he worked in relief in winter ball and joined Triple-A Columbus in a relief role, but lost nearly all of the season to injury and returned to Akron, this time as a reliever, in 2014.
When he returned to Columbus again in 2015, he put together a solid five months in the Clippers bullpen, going 2-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 53 2/3 innings. He joined the Indians for six games in the final month of the season and faced 13 batters. His stat line was relatively empty – he allowed no runs, no walks, struck no batter out, and allowed just three singles against American League Central opponents.
The new Cubs reliever will turn 25 on May 18 and has multiple options remaining for his new organization to use.
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