Angels lose promising infield prospect they got for free to waiver claim

LA lost some of their infield depth on Thursday after the Orioles made a waiver wire move.

Miami Marlins v Los Angeles Angels
Miami Marlins v Los Angeles Angels / Rob Leiter/GettyImages
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When the Los Angeles Angels originally acquired infielder Livan Soto originally, it was seen as a gift. Soto was among the 12 prospects the Braves lost in the wake of their international signing scandal that cost Atlanta general manager John Coppolella his job.

Of that group of prospects, Soto was among those that performed the best with their new organizations. While Soto has basically no power to speak of, his hit tool showed signs of life in the minor leagues and he is widely regarded as an excellent infield defender. After hitting .281 at Double-A, the Angels called him up for a cameo appearance in 2022, where he made a blistering debut that was fueled by a fair bit of batted ball luck.

The 2023 season was much less kind, as he saw very little playing time in the big leagues and only managed a .700 OPS in the minors. Given the Angels' infield depth between the big league roster as well as the minor leagues, LA deemed him expendable, and the Angels designated him for assignment ahead of spring training. This allowed the Orioles to promptly claim him off of waivers.

Livan Soto's tenure with the Angels comes to a quiet end

As fun as Soto's first look at the big leagues was in 2022, the reality is that he is a very niche sort of player. As a bench infielder, teams could do a lot worse, as his glove is quite good and he does have some contact skills at the plate. However, his lack of power and inconsistency at the plate overall limit him significantly. With the Angels having Zach Neto, Luis Rengifo, and Kyren Paris around, Soto just didn't have much of a future in LA.

As for the Orioles, they aren't exactly hurting for infielders, either, as their big league roster and the top levels of the minor leagues are loaded with high-end talents. However, the Orioles had been looking for a lefty infielder to share playing time at second base, with Jordan Westburg handling the right side of the platoon there. Clearly, Baltimore values Soto's defensive ability enough to at least give him a look this spring in filling that role.

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