(670 The Score) The White Sox’s trade of reliever Aaron Bummer to the Braves late Thursday night in return for five players could be the precursor to bigger deals for Chicago later this offseason.
New White Sox general manager Chris Getz acknowledged that fact Friday after making it clear he’s open for business and won’t sit on his hands this winter.
"By us accepting a trade on Nov. 16, it points to what bucket we are in,” Getz said about the team’s need to act aggressively this winter. "There is a lot more offseason for us. We felt that this was a very strong offer for Aaron Bummer. You look at Atlanta's side and see the needs they have, I understand why they made this trade. In any deal, you want both sides to feel good about it. (Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos) does, and I do as well. I felt this was something we needed to act on because it's an opportunity to help us in multiple ways. This should set us up for more opportunities this offseason.”
In return for Bummer, the White Sox acquired right-hander Mike Soroka, left-hander Jared Shuster, infielder Nicky Lopez, infielder Braden Shewmake and right-hander Riley Gowens. The 26-year-old Soroka is the most well-known of those players, having been the National League Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2019 before missing all of the 2021 and 2022 seasons due to an Achilles tear.
For the White Sox, the five-for-one trade served as a way to add depth to a 40-man roster and system that lacks it as they come off a 101-loss season. Now, the attention will turn to what’s next.
The White Sox have already taken numerous calls on the availability of designated hitter Eloy Jimenez, sources said. The oft-injured Jimenez, who will turn 27 in late November, hit .272 with 18 homers, 64 RBIs and a .758 OPS in 120 games in 2023. Injuries had limited Jimenez to a combined 139 games across the prior two seasons.
Jimenez could be the centerpiece of a high-profile trade when the Winter Meetings are held in Nashville in early December.
"I made it very clear that the White Sox are willing to listen to ideas on any of our players,” Getz said. “When it comes to Eloy, we just had a visit with him down in the Dominican Republic. He is off and running with his offseason strength program. He looks very good. He looks motivated and determined. He needs to maintain that, but his lack of consistency was based mostly on missed time. Teams are interested in him. (A deal) just has to make sense for both sides.”
Soroka’s form and injury recovery may be the key to the trade that the White Sox just made with the Braves. Having overcome the Achilles injury, Soroka was then shut down in early September of this past season due to forearm inflammation.
Soroka was once an ace-in-waiting for the Braves before injuries derailed his career. He has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of four MLB seasons.
Soroka and Shuster will each have a chance to earn a rotation spot when the White Sox open spring training in February. Schuster, 25, had a 5.81 ERA in 11 starts for the Braves last season. He also had a 5.58 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A Gwinnett. The Braves selected Schuster in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft.
“I anticipate both Soroka and Shuster coming into spring training competing for a spot in the rotation,” Getz said. "I am fairly confident one or both will be in our rotation. We want to create a competitive environment. We will acquire more pitching. We do have younger pitching in our system that will be pushing forward soon.”
Lopez will likely compete for a middle infield spot. He has extensive experience playing shortstop and second base at the MLB level and has also spent some time at third base.
Getz’s goal is for the White Sox to get more athletic in their middle infield, and Lopez could be a stopgap option until 21-year-old shortstop Colson Montgomery, the organization’s top prospect, is ready to be promoted to the big league level.
"It's still too early to anticipate his playing time,” Getz said of Lopez. "I do anticipate other infielders being in the mix. The deal helps stabilize the roster from a pitching and up-the-middle defense perspective. This helps us move forward with our plans.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.