The Chicago White Sox have had a rough go recently with Aaron Bummer. He was an incredible relief pitcher for a long time, but fell off a cliff in 2023 to the point where there was a realistic chance that the White Sox could have ended up real
In 2023, Bummer hit rock bottom. He made 61 appearances and was one of the worst pitchers on the team. He had an ERA of 6.79, a WHIP of 1.526, and a WAR of -1.0. None of those stats should be had by a guy on a team trying to win.
The White Sox going 61-101 may have bought Bummer some time, but his drop-off was concerning for a team that (at least in theory) is wanting to do a quick retooling before becoming competitive again. There was a bit of bad luck involved in Bummer's shortcomings, though, because he relies heavily on his sinker and his luck on balls in play in 2023 was most unfortunate.
Sometimes, hitters slam those sinker balls into the ground and good defense must be played to record outs. Well, the White Sox defense is terrible and it cost Aaron Bummer on more than one occasion as while his ERA may have looked ugly, he did have a FIP of 3.58 which is more than reasonable.
Where people see good in him is in his ability to create strikeouts. He struck out 78 batters in 58.1 innings pitched last season. Those are good to great numbers and they suggest that his stuff is still there. There were just a lot of baserunners and runs against him between all of those strikeouts.
The Chicago White Sox traded Aaron Bummer to the Atlanta Braves
Clearly, the Atlanta Braves see something in him that they like because they gave Chris Getz a haul for him on Thursday night as the Braves sent five players Chicago in a late night trade. Those five players coming to the White Sox are Mike Soroka, Jared Shuster, Nicky Lopez, Braden Shewmake, and Riley Gowens.
Mike Soroka has been a good pitcher in his MLB career ,but he struggled a little bit in 2023. He didn't play much as he only had six starts (and seven appearances) in the big leagues due to injuries and struggles during his rehab which is a part of his problem. He also missed all of 2021 and 2022 due to an Achilles injury as well.
In the three years before that, he was a high quality pitcher. During that time he had a record of 15-6, an ERA of 2.86, and 171 strikeouts in 214 innings pitched. The problem is that most of that damage came in 2019 when he made 29 starts out of the 34 total during that span.
if the White Sox can get this guy back to full health, they are banking on him pitching the way he did in 2019 when he was an All-Star for the Braves.
Jared Shuster is also a starter that the White Sox would like to see play for them next year. He only has 11 career starts under his belt and they all came in 2023. He wasn't the worst and the quality of his fastball is a bit concerning, but he still has plenty of room to improve as he had a 5.81 ERA and a WHIP of 1.5 and his changeup is a legit plus pitch.
For the back end of the rotation to start their year, there are worse options out there for the White Sox. We can only hope that he takes this opportunity as a second-year player and runs with it.
Nicky Lopez is familiar to White Sox fans. He spent a lot of his first five years with the Kansas City Royals before being traded to the Braves halfway through the 2023 season. He had a good year as his WAR was at 1.8. He brings a little bit of everything to the table and he can play quality defense at second base which is something the White Sox have needed for a long time.
Lopez is also from Naperville, Illinois so he knows all about the Chicago White Sox organization. It would be nice to see him play well for his hometown team.
As for Braden Shewmake and Riley Gowens, they are a couple of prospects who will certainly be in the minor leagues to start their White Sox tenures. Shewmake was the number 15 prospect in their system and Gowens isn't listed in their top 30.
It will be interesting to see where they start the year. A fair guess is that Shewmake will be in AAA while Gowens is in either A or A+. Only time will tell if they ever turn into MLB-caliber players but the other three should be on the Opening Day roster if all are healthy.
Chris Getz did very well in this trade. He didn't add any game-breaking All-Stars but he did add a few solid pieces that might be able to help the team win. For Aaron Bummer, who was terrible, it is a fantastic return.