The Braves don’t have many players on their roster they should be looking to trade. Most of the team is ultra-talented and locked into team-friendly contracts. Those guys aren’t going anywhere, but we saw Alex Anthopoulos get creative last year in the trade that landed Sean Murphy. Perhaps something like that happens again when we least expect it.
Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report recently wrote an article on the 30 best trade chips that could be available this offseason, and one Braves player was featured, Michael Soroka, who clocked in at #27 on the list.
2023 Stats: 7 G, 6 GS, 6.40 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 12 BB, 29 K, 32.1 IP, -0.4 WAR
Contract: Arbitration-eligible through 2024
It looked like Michael Soroka was poised to be a staple in the Atlanta Braves starting rotation when he finished 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 142 strikeouts in 174.2 innings as a 21-year-old rookie in 2019.
However, he made just three starts the following year before missing the entire 2021 and 2022 seasons rehabbing an Achilles injury, and he spent much of the 2023 season at Triple-A Gwinnett while struggling in limited MLB action.
A contending Braves team can’t count on him to hold down a rotation spot, and despite his middling performance last year, they might be able to flip him for a useful MLB piece to a team that thinks he could bounce back another year removed from his injury.
There’s a harsh reality that Braves Country is going to have to accept this offseason. He’s projected to make $3 million in arbitration. That’s a reasonable figure that I expect the Braves to pick up, but the issue is he is out of options.
The Braves can give him a fair chance in Spring Training, and hopefully, he shows enough chops to make the rotation out of camp. That’s the best case scenario, because they cannot send him back to Gwinnett. Their only other option if he doesn’t make the roster is to deal him, and that point, his value could be completely obsolete.
If the Braves don’t want to take that risk and find a reasonable trade prior to Spring Training, perhaps they pull the trigger. It’s also possible they cut ties altogether and choose to non-tender Soroka, making him a free agency. However, they’ve hung on this long. It makes sense to see it through one last time, or at the very least, get something in return for his services.
Photo: Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire