7/31 Soto to Rangers
It’s now official. Geovany Soto moved up in the standings, traded by the Cubs to the Rangers for Minor League right-handed pitcher Jake Brigham and a player to be named or cash consideration. Soto, 29, has been in the Cubs system since he was drafted in 2001. The trade was reported Monday night as Soto was pulled from the game after the Pirates sixth inning, but wasn’t finalized until Tuesday morning.
As he left the game Monday, Soto was greeted in the dugout by handshakes and hugs from his teammates. He was batting .199 this season in 52 games this season. He missed time because of a torn meniscus in his left knee. The 2008 National League Rookie of the Year, Soto was being paid $4.3 million this year, and on track to go to arbitration for the third time this offseason.
“When you get a good feel with a catcher, that’s hard to replace,” Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija said. “We’ll make sure we get [Steve Clevenger] back there to catch all my flat grounds and my bullpens.”
The defending American League champion Rangers lead the West division by 3 1/2 games.
The Cubs were expected to call up catcher Welington Castillo from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday with Clevenger taking over as the regular catcher. Clevenger was in the weight room, preparing in case he was needed to pinch hit when he got word that he had to get into the game to catch.
“It was a little strange, a little weird,” Clevenger said about Monday’s game. “Geo’s always been good to me. I’ve been with the Cubs since ’06, and in big league camp since ’08, and he always treated me really well. I’m going to miss him. I learned a lot for him and he treated me well.”
Brigham, 24, was 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 21 starts for Double-A Frisco this season. He went 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA (16 ER/40.0 IP) in 21 relief outings last season. In 2012, Brigham was named to the mid-season Texas League All-Star team.
He was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Central Florida Christian Academy in Orlando, Fla. In 135 Minor League appearances, Brigham is 27-42 with one save and a 4.40 ERA.
– Carrie Muskat