Tuesday, May 14, 2024

White Sox Announce They Are Shaking Up Their Starting Rotation

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The White Sox are bumping Michael Soroka from the starting rotation… for now. On Monday White Sox manager Pedro Grifol announced that Sorka would be moved to the bullpen with Brad Keller taking his place in the rotation. 

The move comes after Soroka’s ERA ballooned up to 6.39 after allowing four earned runs in five innings against the Guardians on Sunday. Keller entered the game in the sixth inning and fired 3.1 scoreless innings in mop-up duty. While Keller hasn’t gained many fans since joining the South Siders, due to his previous altercation with Tim Anderson, the 28-year-old right-hander has thrown the ball well this year. In 12.2 innings he owns a 2.84 ERA. 

However, the move may be temporary according to CHGO’s Vinnie Duber. Duber reports that Grifol compared the situation to what the team did with Chris Flexen earlier in the year. Flexen was moved to the bullpen for two games in April before returning to the rotation on April 26th, where he threw five score innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. Since rejoining the rotation he has reportedly begun to draw trade interest from several clubs. 

The White Sox hope the scenery change can help turn around Soroka’s season. The White Sox acquired him this offseason as part of a five-player package that sent  Aaron Bummer to the Atlanta Braves. White Sox general manager Chris Getz was hoping that the 26-year-old right-hander could revive his career. 

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Before the start of the season, he owned a 3.32 ERA and a 17-8 record in 44 career games. However, there were some significant injury concerns. In 2020 he tore his Achilles tendon and hasn’t looked the same since. 

Before the injury, he looked like a bonafide ace. During his rookie season, he posted a 3.51 ERA in five starts. He followed that up with a 2.68 ERA in 25 starts in 2019. Soroka was named an All-Star that season and finished sixth in the NL Cy Young voting. After missing two seasons due to injury Soroka had a 6.40 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 32 ⅓ innings in his first seven games back in 2023. His average fastball velocity dropped to just under 93 mph and he struggled to generate swings and misses. 

It has been more of the same in a White Sox uniform. Soroka has had trouble drawing swings and misses which has resulted in a lot of hard contact against him. His 12.4%  strikeout rate ranks in the bottom four percent of the league while his 6.19 Expected ERA ranks in the bottom five percent. Soroka’s walk rate and opponent hard hit percentage have also increased. 

The Calgary native will be an unrestricted free agent. He is going to be heavily motivated to try and work his way back into the rotation and improve his value before he hits the open market. 

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