The Athletics announced that they’ve claimed left-handed reliever Giovanni Soto off waivers from the Cubs. Soto was designated for assignment four days ago when the Cubs needed to clear a 40-man roster spot to send Kyle Schwarber to the Arizona Fall League in preparation for his improbable World Series return.
The 25-year-old Soto, not to be confused with the catcher that was the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year with Chicago (Geovany Soto), has pitched just 3 1/3 innings in the Majors — all of which came in 2015 as a member of the Indians. The southpaw spent the 2016 season with Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate, pitching to a 5.14 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 5.7 BB/9 and a 56.6 percent ground-ball rate in 49 innings out of the Iowa bullpen. Soto’s ERA was the result of his poor control more than opponents hitting him especially hard; though he allowed slightly more than a hit per inning, only three of those hits left the yard. Opponents hit .274 against Soto but slugged just .387. In 111 innings of Triple-A ball, Soto has a 3.96 ERA with with a 114-to-69 K/BB ratio.
Certainly, it’s not a given that Soto will survive the winter on Oakland’s 40-man roster. Players that are claimed early in this manner often bounce around the league over the course of the offseason, but the left-hander does have minor league options remaining, so if he makes it to Spring Training with the A’s, he can be sent down without the risk of first exposing him to outright waivers.