Chicago, IL

White Sox Make a Surprisingly Good Move

Larry E Lambert

But they need to make a whole bunch more.

The White Sox have begun to shuffle their roster this offseason. They sent Aaron Bummer to the Braves for a plethora of players. The five players the Sox got in return are Michael Soroka, Jared Shuster, Nicky Lopez, Braden Shewmake and Riley Gowens.

Those five aren’t necessarily blue-chip prospects, but any, all, or none of them may contribute to the big-league club next season. But first, a little about Aaron Bummer.

In seven seasons with the White Sox, Bummer put up an ERA of 3.84 averaging 10.2 strikeouts and 4.2 walks per nine innings. His stuff has never been a question, but his command has. Having watched him quite a bit over the years, I’m not sorry to see him go. He seems like one of those guys who just finds a way to lose. The metrics say Bummer was much better than his 2023 ERA of 6.79, but he was one of the most frustrating pitchers to watch I’ve ever seen. Maybe things will go better for him in Atalanta. I suspect getting away from the quagmire that is the White Sox would help a lot of guys.

So, what did the Sox get in return? Some pitchers and infielders.

Michael Soroka is the headliner

Soroka had a monster 2019 season going 13–4 with an ERA of 2.58, finishing second in the ROY voting. After that, two torn Achilles tendons derailed his career. He pitched a little last season, though not effectively. Had the Braves not traded him, he may have been non-tendered, but he still makes sense for the Sox to take a flyer on.

Jared Shuster is a lefty who isn’t a hard thrower. In 2023 he was 4–3 with an ERA of 5.38. That would fit right in with the White Sox rotation. But unlike many of the current hurlers on the Sox, Shuster has some upside.

There is an upgrade for the infield

Nicky Lopez can catch the ball at shortstop and second base. That will be a refreshing change. Lopez doesn’t bring much offensively. His slash line for the last two seasons in 742 at bats was 228/.297/.284. That’s right on par with what Tim Anderson did last season. Only Lopez can play defense. He also had a positive WAR.

Braden Shewmake also has a defense first profile and figures to provide infield defense, primarily at second base. The fact that he is a left-handed hitter will be a welcome change of pace for the right-handed heavy White Sox lineup.

And there may be some help for the pen

Riley Gowens is a hard throwing 25-year-old right-hander. Baseball America seems to see some hope for him as a relief pitcher. Starter, reliever, it doesn’t matter. The White Sox need help everywhere.

The trade highlights how devoid of talent the White Sox organization is

For the Braves, the five players they sent to the Sox were marginal. For the Sox, they could see a lot of playing time. The White Sox could make more of these types of moves.

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You probably don't know my name, but you've likely seen or heard my work. I've written for various syndicated cartoonists and TV standups. My gags have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, Barron's, Parade Magazine, and the Saturday Evening Post. The comedians I've sold to include Jay Leno for the Tonight Show. In addition, I've written for radio stations and ad agencies. I hope you enjoy my work.

Largo, FL

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