MLB Rumors: 3 prospects the Braves could trade for Dylan Cease

The Chicago White Sox asking price for Dylan Cease is said to be high. If the Atlanta Braves want to acquire him, there is a route to do so.

Chicago White Sox v Atlanta Braves
Chicago White Sox v Atlanta Braves / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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1. Braves should offer AJ Smith-Shawver in any trade package for Dylan Cease

If the Braves are going to land Dylan Cease via trade, they are going to have to offer up one of their top-100 prospects. AJ Smith-Shawver is young and has MLB experience. As much as the Braves may not want to trade Smith-Shawver, who has electric stuff and could possibly replace Fried on his own atop the Atlanta rotation if all goes according to plan, will he ever live up to the standard Cease has set? Is he a Cy Young candidate in the making?

Smith-Shawver is a classic case of prospect hoarding. Atlanta could easily extend Smith-Shawver now for a low price tag. However, there's a reason Anthopoulos hasn't done so just yet. Perhaps he himself has some doubt about Smith-Shawver's overall potential, despite what MLB Pipeline has to say:

"Smith-Shawver is big and projectable and already has an electric fastball-slider combination. His heater sits in the mid-90s and touches 98 mph, with a ton of run and life. His slider flashes plus at 88-92 mph and has the chance to be a special out pitch. There’s some feel for his changeup, but he hasn’t thrown it a ton, and it’s behind the other two pitches. He once had a curve but didn’t use it at all last year."

Smith-Shawver still needs to develop his secondary pitches, which is why the Braves used him primarily as a reliever late in the 2023 season. As a starting pitcher, he was relatively limited his second and third time through the order.

Trading such a talented pitcher is a risk, but one the Braves have to make if they want to acquire a proven player like Cease with two years left on his deal.

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