First trade of the offseason is a head-scratcher. Like no time has passed.
So. The White Sox really wanted to get rid of Aaron Bummer. I get that. I think we all get that. I think it's what the Braves gave up that nobody really gets.
The Bummer part of the deal is understandable. Through two full seasons with the White Sox, Bummer posted some excellent relief numbers, including a 2.8 WAR and a 2.13 ERA in 2019. Giving Bummer a deal is a wise idea in 2019, but overpaying to keep him in Chicago, including giving him a FIVE YEAR DEAL for SIXTEEN MILLION...I kinda wouldn't have done that. This is why Kenny Williams is out of a job, because he was doing things like that and not procuring the finer points of this Sox team. Bummer is all well and good, but after 2019 his stock drops. He barely pitches in 2020, struggles in '21, has a rebound year amid injuries in '22, and has his worst season to date in 2023. I can see why the Sox want to get rid of him, especially as they're trying to start over for 2024. They're already letting Tim Anderson go, they might be trading more of their stars, the rebuild is upon us.
That being said, pretty much everything the Braves gave the White Sox is something they need. The issue is that I don't think the Braves should have been so quick to part with all of them.
Jared Shuster I get. He wasn't working in Atlanta. Tucker Davidson, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Muller and Sean Newcomb can tell you that's not all that uncommon. The Sox needed starting options, Shuster will do. Mike Soroka...that I'm still not sold on. The Braves were convinced he was cooked, but honestly I think he needed more opportunities in 2023. The team was struggling for starting innings, Soroka was healthy, he didn't do all that badly this year, even if he did finish with a 6.40 ERA. I kinda think he just needed a full year, the Braves didn't share that sentiment. So they parted with him. Fantastic. Maybe Chicago will work for Soroka like it worked for Lucas Giolito.
Then the infielders. In a skewed, squinty-eyed perspective, I can see why the Braves would feel it would be alright to trade Braden Shewmake. He's behind Vaughn Grissom in the depth chart, shortstop was won by Orlando Arcia this year, he might stay there for a while. Fine, give him to a rebuilder. But the fact that they're already dealing Nicky Lopez not only makes me wonder why they're throwing him in at all, but it makes me wonder why they even traded for Lopez in the first place.
If you'll recall, the Braves dealt for Lopez because they needed a versatile, young, contact-hitting 2nd-base type to back up Arcia and Albies. And then both Grissom and Shewmake both went 'AHEM, EXCUSE ME?'. Why do you farm these depth options if you're not gonna use them? And yes, it is nice that Lopez had some awesome contact moments late in the season, and in the postseason, but after he outdid expectations, now by trading him you are saying you no longer had any use for him, when it's arguable that you had any use for him to begin with.
There is also the chance that Lopez was a throw-in because Chris Getz really wanted a surefire shortstop type to hop right in next year, and the Braves relented. If that's the case, fine. But I really don't think the Braves should be in the position to be fleeced in a trade for an overpaid, overrated middle reliever. That doesn't set a great precedent for the following year, even if they're probably gonna do well anyway.
I dunno, maybe they're onto something, but this feels like a win for the White Sox and a setback for a team that may well be going for a division title next year. Maybe it'll make sense in time, but I'm just not seeing it now.