Did we last see Mike Soroka in Braves costume?

Mike Soroka’s career has been incredibly sad to this point. He came onto the scene at the age of 20, making five superb starts before being suspended from the season with a sore shoulder – the first of many injuries that have plagued his career thus far.

2021 was Soroka’s exit party. He stayed healthy all year and finished sixth in the NL Cy Young race after posting 2.68 ERAs over 29 starts. If that wasn’t enough, he also delivered impressively in his only start after the season, throwing seven innings, surrendering only twice and running one. At just 21 years old, the table is set for him to become the Braves Champion for the foreseeable future.

But on the afternoon of August 3rd, in front of a stadium full of empty seats and bits of cardboard, everything changed. Soroka tried to insert a weak battering fish in front of the heap, and he quickly came down, tearing with pain. Further tests were conducted, but they were not necessary. Within minutes, it became apparent that he had suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, which is arguably the most devastating injury in all of sports.

Despite the injury, Soroka’s attitude toward the situation remained optimistic. He reached out to fellow athletes who had experienced similar injuries for advice and was absolutely convinced that he would come back from the problem a better player.

Fast forward a year, and Mike Soroka is standing on the hill for the first time in a head-to-head match. He’s way ahead of the schedule in his rehab and close to returning to a major league club. Then disaster comes again. This time in an almost unimaginable way. Soroka walks onto the field when he feels a pop in his surgically repaired Achilles tendon. Soon after, it was confirmed that he had re-ruptured Achilles. The road to recovery was underway again.

Even with modern medicine, many athletes struggle to come back from a single Achilles injury, but two often end their careers, which makes Soroka’s optimistic response to a second Achilles rupture—especially given how it occurred—very impressive.

Fans can only have access to a fraction of his life, but in every public appearance of him over the past two years, his passion for comeback and comeback has radiated at a high level. It really feels like a situation that no matter how many times Soroka gets knocked down, he’ll come back and keep punching. But after his recent injury, it’s fair to wonder if his successful comeback will be with the Braves.

Yesterday, it was announced that Mike Soroka has an elbow infection. Fortunately, there is no structural damage, but it will shut down the rest of the season.

In fact, the Braves really didn’t expect Mike Soroka to return to contribute to the Major League team this season. The goal was to go back and get some actors in the palace, which he accomplished. The results may not have been exactly what Soroka had hoped for, given his lofty expectations for himself, but 2022 was a step in the right direction for Maple Maddux. What’s next is the million dollar question.

Soroka is set to enter his third year of judging. Last year, the parties were able to avoid arbitration, settling a one-year contract worth $2.8 million, exactly the same amount they offered in 2021. Will they be able to do something similar this time around?

My guess would be yes. It would be a mistake to watch Soroka come back in another outfit, and the Braves have already put in enough time and effort to get him to this point. I also thought – despite the numbers in Gwinnett – that things look great. If he can stay healthy, he will be a key player in the league again. In my opinion, a few million more are worth pursuing the situation, at least for another year.

With this said, if there is ever a situation where the Braves need some extra cash to make a more substantial acquisition, moving on from Mike Soroka is a possibility, especially if they’re planning to make a move for another start. Given that the payroll is expected to rise again in 2023, I find it unlikely, but we’ve got to the point where the conversation started.



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