The Los Angeles Angels signed reliever José Cisnero to a one-year deal. In a corresponding move, versatile infielder Liván Soto was designated for assignment, per Taylor Blake Ward of The Sporting Tribune. The SF Giants should take a flyer on Soto as he checks off several boxes that they need.
SF Giants should take a flyer on recently DFA'd Angels infielder
I should preface this by saying that this move would be more about improving around the margins rather than upgrading the overall roster. And, that is okay. All teams look at ways to improve around the margins.
For the Giants, they have several soft spots on the 40-man roster. Sean Hjelle, Joey Bart, David Villar, Brett Wisely, and T.J. Hopkins are some of the names that come to mind.
In parts of two seasons with the Angels, Soto has registered a .375/.414/.531 line with one home run, nine RBI, and 11 runs in a very small sample of 71 plate appearances. The rate stats are a bit misleading due the limited sample as he has tallied a .670 OPS across six minor league seasons. This includes a .736 OPS with eight home runs in his first year at Triple-A in 2023.
The lefty bat does not hit with a lot of power as he has never recorded more than eight home runs in any season as a pro. However, he puts together quality at-bats while registering an 11.3 percent walk rate against a 19.3 percent strikeout rate. He does not swing and miss often and the strikeout rate is due in part to consistently working deep counts.
It bears mentioning that the 23-year-old infielder hits from the left side, which is a need for the Giants. San Francisco's 40-man roster includes only two, left-handed-hitting infielders in Wisely and LaMonte Wade Jr. Of course, Wisely's best infield position is second base and Wade Jr. can only play first base on the infield grass.
Wisely has experience on the left side of the infield, but his playing time there has decreased in recent seasons. On the other hand, Soto is playable on the left side of the infield, including shortstop.
Currently, the Giants have Marco Luciano penciled in as the Opening Day shortstop. Perhaps, Tyler Fitzgerald is the only other serviceable shortstop on the 40-man roster, but the left side of the infield might be a stretch for him too. The Giants have been looking for middle infield depth this offseason. Free agency does not offer too many options, but we did make the case that the Giants should pursue one, no-risk move.
The front office has indicated that they would prefer to have an optionable infielder. Soto checks that box as he has two minor league options remaining. The young infielder offers versatility in more ways than one.
San Francisco has an open spot on the 40-man roster after shipping Ross Stripling to the Oakland A's on Friday. That could be a precursor to another move or it could be used to add someone like Soto who might be a better fit than some of the other players on the 40-man roster.