Coming into the 2023 campaign, Braves Country had high hopes for Michael Soroka. After a devastating string of bad luck, the Maple Maddux finally made it back to the big leagues last year.
Soroka’s season was a bag of mixed results, but he stayed mostly healthy and still flashed the stuff that nearly won the Rookie of the Year Award years ago.
Unfortunately, the Braves and Soroka’s timeline just didn’t match up. Soroka had no options left, and Alex Anthopoulos had no choice but to maximize his hand and give Soroka a chance to revitalize his career elsewhere.
The club announced on Friday they’ve acquired Aaron Bummer from the White Sox in exchange for Michael Soroka, Jared Shuster, Nicky Lopez, Braden Shewmake, and Riley Gowens.
The Atlanta #Braves tonight acquired LHP Aaron Bummer from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for RHP Michael Soroka, LHP Jared Shuster, INF Nicky Lopez, INF Braden Shewmake and minor-league RHP Riley Gowens: pic.twitter.com/VHlIEpk56I
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 17, 2023
This makes sense for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the Braves’ relief core needed left handed pitchers. There’s a shortage of reliable southpaws under contract, and Atlanta has been knocked out of the postseason in each of the past two years by the Phillies.
Philly has a lefty-dominant lineup, and there’s no reason not to build toward beating the club that has knocked the Braves out in back to back NLDS.
Next, Bummer’s underlying metrics paint a much prettier picture than his surface numbers. His 2022 campaign can be chalked up to injury as he was nursing a knee injury from June to September.
Bummer’s 2021 and 2023 seasons are better examples of what Braves Country can expect. His 6.79 ERA isn’t indicative of how he pitched last season, apparent in his 3.53 xERA. The 2014 19th round draft pick also posted a 2.58 xERA and 2.80 xFIP in 2021. The upside is there.
Nicky Lopez might be the best player involved in this trade. He’s a gold glove caliber defender and has a serviceable bat. Atlanta had a need for a bench piece but maybe not as expensive as Lopez. For the Braves, they save $3.6 million by moving on from him, according to Spotrac. The club also saves $2.8 million from getting Michael Soroka off the books.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire