Keith Law likes Aaron Bummer trade for Braves

MLB: SEP 06 White Sox at Royals

The Braves have swung trades in consecutive days that have seen fan favorites shipped out of Atlanta.

Last night, Kyle Wright was sent to Kansas City in exchange for Jackson Kowar. Wright will be 30 years old by the time he pitches again, but the Royals are betting his upside is worth the risk of his shoulder injury, which the Braves clearly see as being potentially detrimental because Kowar isn’t someone to write home about.

It was a precarious trade. Either Wright’s shoulder is too far gone or the Braves think they can fix Kowar, who has an ERA north of 9.00 in 39 major-league appearances. The night before, Atlanta sent Michael Soroka to Chicago along with Nicky Lopez, Braden Shewmake, Jared Shuster, and Riley Gowens.

It was the first notable trade of the offseason, and Keth Law of The Athletic had great things to say about the deal for the Braves.

Atlanta gets Bummer, a solid left-handed reliever who had his worst year as a big leaguer in 2023 due to a spike in his walk rate (that’s on him) and a spike in his BABIP (which looks like bad luck). He’s always limited hard contact and shown he can get right-handers out, so he’s a capable full-inning guy who could probably handle high-leverage work if the walks come back down. With Tyler Matzek still coming back from late-2022 Tommy John surgery, Bummer gives Atlanta a second lefty behind A.J. Minter to start the season, and plenty of flexibility if and when Matzek returns to the majors.
The Braves needed another left-handed reliever. There’s a shortage of southpaws in the bullpen, and Atlanta has been knocked out of the postseason in each of the past two years by the Phillies, who have a lefty-dominant lineup.
Bummer’s underlying metrics also paint a much prettier picture than his surface numbers. His 2022 campaign was marred by an injury as he nursed a knee injury from June to September. His 2021 and 2023 seasons are better examples of what Braves Country can expect. The 2014 19th-round draft pick also posted a 3.53 xERA last season after a 2.58 xERA and 2.80 xFIP in 2021. The upside is there.

Unfortunately, the Braves and Soroka’s timeline just didn’t match up. It’s a shame he wasn’t able to revitalize his career in Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean the 25-year-old can’t do it in Chicago.

Photographer: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire
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