White Sox trade for Soroka, Lopez, 3 others from Braves

November 17th, 2023

CHICAGO -- Chris Getz’s first trade as White Sox general manager -- a six-player deal sending veteran reliever to the Braves on Thursday night -- now sets him up for further moves during this ongoing 2024 roster retooling.

There were a number of holes for the White Sox to fill coming off a 61-101 showing in 2023, with shortstop, second base, right field, catcher, and at least three starting-pitcher spots standing out for openers.

Acquiring right-handed pitcher and left-hander , along with infielders and , as well as Minor League right-hander Riley Gowens in return for the veteran southpaw with a 6.79 ERA over 61 games in 2023, began covering those vacancies.

White Sox receive: RHP Mike Soroka, INF Nicky Lopez, LHP Jared Shuster, SS Braden Shewmake, RHP Riley Gowens
Braves receive: LHP Aaron Bummer

“This is a foundational move for us,” Getz said during a Friday Zoom call with media. “And I look forward to adding to what we just acquired.”

Bummer, 30, is one year removed from a strong showing with the White Sox. Add his outstanding clubhouse presence to his dominant sinker, and he should be a good fit with the National League East champs. The lefty is under contractual control through 2024, with club options for '25 and '26.

Getz admitted to a fair amount of interest from other teams in Bummer, which dated back to some buzz at the 2023 Trade Deadline. But the players presented by Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves' President of Baseball Operations and general manager, made the most sense for Chicago's current position.

“I came to the point where he put something on the table that I felt like was a step forward for where we needed to go,” Getz said. “Acquiring starting pitching, innings there, and also improving our defense, 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.”

Lopez, who played for the Royals from 2019-23 and hails from Naperville, Ill., figures to bridge the gap at shortstop from Tim Anderson to Colson Montgomery, but he can effectively play around the infield. The left-handed-hitting Montgomery -- the top White Sox prospect and No. 17 overall per MLB Pipeline -- should arrive in the Majors sooner than later in '24, although he isn’t currently being considered for breaking camp with the team, per Getz.

Adding Lopez, who is a strong defensive presence, marks the first step in fulfilling one of Getz’s primary offseason goals of making this team defensively solid or at least competent. Lopez, 29, is tied for 10th in baseball with 31 outs above average since the start of 2020 (Fangraphs).

Soroka, 26, and Shuster, 25, will join Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech in the White Sox rotation. Shewmake, 26, also could work into the White Sox infield plans.

Over parts of four big league seasons with the Braves, Soroka has a 17-8 record and 3.32 ERA in 44 games (43 starts). He tore his right Achilles tendon on Aug. 3, 2020, and missed most of the following two seasons due to injury, talking at times with Jake Burger, the one-time White Sox third baseman who made his way back from two Achilles tears. Soroka finished this past season with a 2-2 record, posting a 6.40 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings over seven games.

“Essentially [this was] his first full season back from having a multiple-year layoff,” said Getz of Soroka. “There were certainly some moments and flashes of what Soroka was earlier in his career. Navigating a season like that after being off, it certainly can be tricky. But to have that under his belt, learning where his body is now, there is some upside there.”

Shuster split the 2023 season between Atlanta and Triple-A Gwinnett, going 4-3 with a 5.81 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 11 starts with the Braves.

Shewmake spent most of the 2023 season with Gwinnett, hitting .234 with 28 doubles, 16 home runs, 69 RBIs and 79 runs scored.

The White Sox are open for business, with Getz listening to offers for pretty much anyone on the roster.

“For the organization and certainly for myself, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what we're trying to accomplish, both in the short term and long,” Getz said. “I've regularly been communicating that to our staff in every situation, every scenario, every opportunity that comes your way. It's a lot easier to make a sound decision knowing what pathway that falls.”