The Chicago White Sox are in want of beginning pitching and middle-infield depth this offseason.
They made a dent in each departments late Thursday in a six-player commerce with the Atlanta Braves.
The Sox despatched veteran reliever Aaron Bummer to the Braves for right-handed pitcher Mike Soroka, left-hander Jared Shuster, infielders Nicky Lopez and Braden Shewmake and minor-league right-hander Riley Gowens.
“(Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos) put something on the table that I felt like was a step forward for where we needed to go — acquiring starting pitching innings and also improving our defense,” Sox common supervisor Chris Getz stated Friday in a video convention name.
“It now allows us to open some things up when it comes to acquiring free agents or future deals. So much of this is at the mercy of other clubs and the urgency of some of these free agents and when they want to sign. I think this is a foundational move for us.”
It’s the primary main commerce since Getz turned the GM in late August.
“It was an opportunity to really help us in multiple different areas and set us up for more opportunities this offseason,” he stated.
In Soroka and Shuster, the Sox get starters with big-league expertise.
“I’m fairly confident that one or both will be in our rotation, but we want to create a competitive environment,” Getz stated. “We will acquire more pitching and we’ve got younger pitching in our system that will be pushing here shortly.”
Soroka, 26, went 2-2 with a 6.40 ERA and 29 strikeouts in seven video games (six begins) with the Braves. He spent most of 2023 with Triple-A Gwinnett, going 4-4 with a 3.41 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 17 begins.
He made the National League All-Star crew in 2019 and completed second within the National League Rookie of the Year voting after going 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 29 begins.
Soroka has a 17-8 profession file with a 3.32 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 44 video games (43 begins) throughout components of 4 seasons with the Braves. He suffered a torn proper Achilles tendon on Aug. 3, 2020, and retore in June 2021. 2023 was his first time again in motion since 2020.
“Navigating a season like that after being off, certainly it can be tricky,” Getz stated. “But to have that under his belt, learning where his body is now. I think there is some upside there.”
Shuster, 25, went 4-3 with a 5.81 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 11 begins with the Braves and 5-6 with a 5.58 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 16 begins with Gwinnett in 2023.
“(The Braves) had a pretty strong rotation last year, and he was often times the insurance policy for a championship-type club,” Getz stated. “So there could be more opportunities for him here.”
Lopez, 29, had a mixed .231/.326/.307 slash line with eight doubles, three triples, one homer, 25 RBIs, 26 walks and 32 runs in 94 video games between the Kansas City Royals and Braves in 2023. He dedicated simply two errors in 277 possibilities.
The Naperville Central graduate has a profession .249/.312/.319 slash line with 71 doubles, six residence runs, 131 RBIs, 220 runs and 42 stolen bases in 546 video games throughout 5 seasons with the Royals (2019-23) and Braves (2023).
“Defensively he’s got a strong reputation,” Getz stated. “He can play shortstop, he can play second, he can play third base.
“Nicky can certainly provide improved defense, and that’s certainly something we’ve been set out to do.”
Shewmake, 26, spent most of 2023 with Gwinnett, hitting .234 with 28 doubles, 16 residence runs, 69 RBIs and 79 runs. He appeared in two video games with the Braves.
“Middle-infield defense is a strong suit for him,” Getz stated. “He’s got some left-handed power. And just to provide infield depth for us, where we’re certainly in need of, made him attractive.”
Gowens, 24, went 1-1 with a 1.15 ERA and 9 strikeouts in 5 video games (three begins) between the Rookie League Braves and Class A Augusta in 2023. The Libertyville graduate was chosen within the ninth spherical in 2023 out of Illinois.
“There were some attributes in his pitching repertoire that we felt like we could work with and potentially turn him into something,” Getz stated.
In the deal, the Sox acquired three former first-rounders with Soroka (No. 28 in 2015), Shuster (No. 25 in 2020) and Shewmake (No. 21 in 2019).
Bummer, 30, is on the transfer after seven seasons with the Sox.
The lefty with a knack for inducing grounders went 5-5 with a 6.79 ERA, 79 strikeouts and 15 holds in 61 appearances in 2023. He was 14-15 with a 3.84 ERA and 309 strikeouts in 289 profession outings with the Sox.
“There was a fair amount of interest in Aaron Bummer,” Getz stated. “Left-handed relievers are at all times closely wanted. Going again to what our wants are presently and also you examine that to the wants of Atlanta of the place they’re and their course of, it simply aligned.
“There were conversations with other clubs and certainly assessing what is the best deal for the White Sox here, we felt it was the deal with Alex and Atlanta.”
The White Sox agreed to phrases on a 1-year, $750,000 contract with reliever Matt Foster, avoiding arbitration.
All remaining unsigned gamers on the 40-man roster have been tendered contracts for the 2024 season.