ATLANTA — A busy Thursday for baseball news included the Atlanta Braves receiving an honor for 2023 (right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. was voted National League MVP) as well as a privilege for 2025 (Truist Park will host the MLB All-Star Game).
Before the ink could dry on those headlines, the Braves were busy working on their 2024 plans.
Atlanta acquired reliever Aaron Bummer in a multiplayer trade with the Chicago White Sox, with the news of that swap breaking after midnight on the East Coast. The White Sox received pitchers Riley Gowens, Jared Shuster and Michael Soroka, along with infielders Nicky Lopez and Braden Shewmake, creating some room on Atlanta's 40-man roster early in the offseason.
By late Friday afternoon, another Atlanta trade had been announced as right-handed reliever Nick Anderson was sent to the Kansas City Royals for $100,000.
Hours later, the Braves and Royals had another swap, exchanging right-handers as Kyle Wright went to Kansas City and Jackson Kowar went to Atlanta.
The 30-year-old Bummer went 5-5 with a career-high 6.79 ERA in 61 appearances this year. He has a $5.5 million salary next year in the final guaranteed season of a $16 million, five-year deal that includes team options at $7.25 million for 2025 and $7.5 million for 2026. Each option carries a $1.25 million buyout.
The Braves hope a change of scenery will help Bummer, who was selected by the White Sox in the 19th round of the 2014 draft, return to the form that made him an effective left-handed setup man. He had a 2.36 ERA in 32 appearances in 2022 and a 3.51 ERA in 62 games in 2021.
While the Braves led the majors with 104 wins this year and won their sixth straight NL East Division title, the White Sox finished fourth in the American League Central with a 61-101 record.
Shewmake, Shuster and Soroka are former first-round draft picks. Gowens and Lopez are from the Chicago area.
The 26-year-old Soroka was an NL All-Star in 2019, going 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 29 starts, but his career has been hampered by a series of injuries.
The 6-foot-5 right-hander appeared in just three games over the past three seasons. He played for Atlanta and the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers this year, going 2-2 with a 6.40 ERA in seven games with the Braves.
Shuster, 25, made his MLB debut on April 2. He also played for Atlanta and Gwinnett this season, going 4-3 with a 5.81 ERA in 11 starts with the Braves.
Lopez, 29, who was traded from Kansas City to Atlanta on July 30, batted .231 with one homer and 25 RBIs in 94 games this year. He is a .249 hitter with six homers and 131 RBIs in five MLB seasons.
Gowens, 24, was a ninth-round pick for Atlanta this year.
The 33-year-old Anderson, like Lopez and Soroka, is eligible for salary arbitration.
Anderson was 4-0 with one save and a 3.06 ERA in 35 appearances. He missed the 2022 season after undergoing surgery the previous October to repair a torn right UCL.
Anderson is 11-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 128 relief appearances over four seasons for the Miami Marlins (2019), Tampa Bay Rays (2019-21) and Atlanta. He won Game 2 of the 2020 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who went on to win the title that year.
The Royals designated Austin Cox for assignment to open a roster spot for Anderson. The 26-year-old lefty made his MLB debut on May 4 and was 0-1 with a 4.54 ERA in three starts and 21 relief appearances for the Royals.
The 28-year-old Wright is expected to miss the 2024 season after he had surgery in October to repair a torn capsule in his pitching shoulder. He went 1-3 with a 6.97 ERA in nine games with Atlanta this year.
Wright helped Atlanta's run to the 2021 World Series title, then had a breakout performance in 2022, going 21-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 30 starts. He became the first Braves pitcher to lead the majors in wins since Tom Glavine in 2000.
Kowar was selected by Kansas City in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft. He went 2-0 with a 6.43 ERA in 23 MLB games this year.
Atlanta declined contracts to right-handers Yonny Chirinos, Penn Murfee and Michael Tonkin, left-hander Angel Perdomo, catcher Chadwick Tromp and infielder Lucas Williams. Chirinos had been designated for assignment on Tuesday.