Most effective: Braves trade Michael Soroka, 4 others to White Sox for Aaron Bummer
I graded this trade an A for Atlanta in this post because I believe the Braves landed a piece for their bullpen and paid very little in terms of their future to make it happen. The entire return for the White Sox was pitchers Soroka, Jared Shuster, Riley Gowens and infielders Braden Shewmake and Nicky Lopez. According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, "all were very expendable" for a number of reasons, meaning Atlanta took pieces that were not going to be a part of the team in 2024 and found a reliever who could well slide into a meaningful role in the Braves bullpen.
If you want to find out why Atlanta was interested in Bummer despite some numbers that, on the surface, aren't that appealing from last season (6.79 ERA), look at some of the deeper stats, including a 3.58 FIP, showing that perhaps the 30-year-old left-hander was unlucky at times on the mound. While his walks rose in 2023 to 5.6 per nine innings (up from 3.4 in 2022), so did his strikeouts (12.0 per nine innings in 2023, up from 10.1 in 2022), so there is a mix of good and bad from last season.
However, Bummer's career numbers may show that last season was a blip on the radar. Over the course of seven seasons, all with the White Sox, the southpaw has posted a 3.84 ERA/3.38 FIP/1.305 WHP in 272.0 innings over 289 games.
If Bummer can continue to keep balls on the ground the way he did in 2023 (58.2 percent, the 10th-highest rate among relievers who threw 50 innings or more), Atlanta will take that in a deal that could well be a big one for the Braves when we look back at this offseason.