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White Sox Move Michael Soroka To Bullpen

White Sox Move Michael Soroka To Bullpen

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol told members of the club’s beat today that right-handers Michael Soroka and Brad Keller will be swapping places, with Soroka moving to the bullpen and Keller taking over his rotation spot. Soroka will stay stretched out and work multiple innings. James Fegan of Sox Machine was among those to pass along the information on X.

Soroka, 26, was one of five players that the Sox acquired from Atlanta in the November trade that sent Aaron Bummer the other way. Chicago gave Soroka a rotation spot but the results have been quite poor so far. Through nine starts and 43 2/3 innings, he has a 6.39 earned run average, which is the worst mark among qualified pitchers in the majors this year.

That performance is backed up by uninspiring peripherals. His 46.9% ground ball is good but he has equal strikeout and walk totals of 24. That means he has a 12.4% rate of both punchouts and free passes, both of which are well worse than league average.

It was understandable why the Sox were willing to give Soroka a shot. They started gutting their rotation at last year’s deadline by trading away Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn. They didn’t flip Dylan Cease until March but it was clear that he was going to be out the door at some point as well. In March, it was reported that Michael Kopech was moving to the bullpen, though private discussions about that decision must have taken place prior to that.

There were plenty of holes to fill in the rotation and Soroka had been a dominant starter in the past. With Atlanta in 2019, he made 29 starts with a 2.68 ERA, 20.3% strikeout rate, 5.8% walk rate and 51.2% ground ball rate. But he then tore his achilles tendon twice in nine months and hasn’t seemed like the same pitcher since. He didn’t pitch in the majors in 2021 or 2022 and then had a 6.40 ERA with Atlanta last year.

The Sox were undoubtedly hoping for a bounceback with a bit more remove from his injury absence. Soroka is an impending free agent, so any kind of step forward could have turned him into an interesting trade candidate this summer. But as mentioned, it hasn’t played out that way so far.

His continued struggles will get him pushed to the bullpen, though there’s a path to returning to the rotation, like Chris Flexen.. “He’s got some adjustments to make that we feel can really help him,” Grifol said, per Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. “We did the same thing with Flexen. He pitched out of the bullpen, he threw a…

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