The Atlanta Braves recently made one of my predictions come true. Five days ago I wrote an article about why the Braves won't cut Michael Soroka at the non-tender deadline. I was right! Just not in the way I thought. Atlanta sent Soroka and four other players to the White Sox for left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer.
If you rewind back to the end of 2019, I think most of us would be surprised to hear that Max Fried would be our ace in the future and Soroka would end up being a part of a five-player package for a 30-year-old reliever coming off a 6.79 ERA.
Multiple articles had Soroka pegged as a potential trade candidate this offseason for other teams to target. If he can get close to what he was in 2019, he's going to be a great value for Chicago this season. After not pitching for three years, his 2023 season was really a success and a step in the right direction. His big-league numbers didn't paint that picture but he racked up 119.1 innings and was really good in Triple-A Gwinnett, winning IL Pitcher of the Month in August.
On November 18, Soroka posted his farewell to Braves fans and thanked them for believing in him and their support. He lamented not being able to take the mound more over his time in Atlanta and even concluded with a potential return tease.
"It has been a ride, to say the least. From being drafted in '15 you have embraced me and made me feel like I belonged in the A. I have always been proud to represent this city and made sure to lay it on the line every time out. I wish so badly I could have been out there more these last three years. Thank you to everyone who believed in me, and continues to believe in me to learn and fight through the difficulties that this game brings. I have met and worked with some of the best people I will meet in my lifetime over these last nine years, and I am thankful for everyone. Thank you for the continual support, and until we meet again. "- Michael Soroka
Soroka will have one season to play in Chicago before he becomes a free agent. Perhaps he might find his way back to Atlanta after next season.
Soroka finished second in Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2019 going 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 29 starts. He allowed a league-leading 0.7 homers per nine and finished sixth in Cy Young voting. I traded for him halfway through the season in my dynasty league. He finished that magical 2019 season with an epic NLDS Game 3 pitchers' duel against the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright with the series tied 1-1.
Soroka was always such a likable character for Braves fans to root for. He did a great video piece with Paul Byrd a few years ago on his techniques. Byrd had this to say when Soroka went down with his initial Achilles tear.
After tearing his Achilles in just the third start of the 2020 season he did not pitch on a Major League mound again until last season. Soroka was up and down last year and finished with a 6.40 ERA in 32.1 innings. He shined in Triple-A Gwinnett, posting a 3.41 ERA over 87.0 innings and racking up 92 strikeouts. His velocity was up last season over what we were accustomed to previously.
We sincerely hope that Soroka can continue his momentum next season and make the Braves regret trading him.