Detroit also received cash considerations in the trade. Peralta will fill-in for Brandon Inge, the Tigers' injured third baseman.
"I was trying to do something to help our ballclub and do something to stay in this," Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski said before the game against Tampa Bay. "We think this helps our ballclub with a solid big league player. We've got a lot of young players. Right now it gives us another veteran in our lineup."
Dombrowski said Inge (broken left hand) and second baseman Carlos Guillen (strained right calf) could return in the next two weeks. Outfielder Magglio Ordonez (broken right ankle) is expected to be out six to eight weeks.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland, after the Tigers were beat 7-4 by Tampa Bay, said Inge will start at third when he returns and that Peralta will get playing time at shortstop and DH.
"I think it sends the right message to the team," Leyland said of the trade. "We're going to do something."
The Tigers started Wednesday third in the AL Central, four games behind the Chicago White Sox.
Peralta, who might join the Tigers for Thursday's day game at Tampa Bay, was in the lineup for Cleveland's game against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, but was pulled around 6 p.m. He's batting .246 with seven homers and 43 RBI in 91 games.
The 28-year-old Peralta is in the final season of a five-year, $13 million contract. He's making $4.6 million this season and the club has a $7 million option for 2011.
"The stark reality was we had come to the decision we were not going to pick up his option for next year," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said.
The 19-year-old Soto has spent the entire season at Class-A West Michigan and will be assigned to Class-A Lake County. He is 6-6 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 starts.
"We're trying to make some moves that maybe help us a little bit. I don't have anything else right now," Dombrowski said.
Infielder Luis Valbuena has been called up from Triple-A Columbus to take Peralta's roster spot.
Shapiro said infielder Jared Goedert, who is batting .304 with 17 homers at Columbus, will be called up this season.
"We wanted to take a look at some of our internal alternatives at third base for next year," Shapiro said.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Peralta, Detroit designated outfielder Wilkin Ramirez for assignment.