White Sox may have made trading Dylan Cease even easier

The White Sox new contract agreement with Dylan Cease could make him an even more attractive trade candidate.

Chicago White Sox starter Dylan Cease
Chicago White Sox starter Dylan Cease / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

Eight million dollars for a quality, veteran pitcher isn't a lot in today's MLB landscape. That's exactly what the Chicago White Sox agreed to pay Dylan Cease for the 2024 season, according to FanSided's own MLB Insider Robert Murray.

Cease finished second in the Cy Young voting as recently as 2022, when he compiled a 14-8 record with an ERA of 2.20 and a WHIP 1.109. Unfortunately, those numbers slipped quite a bit in 2023. He won half as many games, more than doubled his ERA, and saw his WHIP creep over the 1.400 mark.

Those numbers are probably making some teams balk at the steep asking price the White Sox seem to be seeking. According to Jesse Rogers of ESPN, Chicago is seeking multiple top prospects in exchange for Cease's services over the next two seasons.

Dylan Cease contract makes steep trade price more palatable

Teams in need of pitching may find it easier to meet Chicago's demands if Cease is only taking up $8 million in salary in 2024. He is still arbitration-eligible for 2025 but a new team might not worry about his salary after this season until it is necessary. If he performs well this year, he'll still probably be a bargain at whatever his salary will be, and if he is closer to last year than 2022, he won't cost much then either.

Probably the one thing holding Cease back from being a top-tier starter is his spotty control. While only 7.3 percent of his batted balls are barreled up, he walks batters over 10 percent of the time over his career. These extra baserunners haunted him a lot more in 2023 than they did in the previous season.

Still, Cease misses a lot of bats. Over his career, he has averaged nearly 11 strikeouts per nine innings (10.83), and his past three seasons have all been over that number. There is a lot to like about Cease.

Can Chicago find someone to give them multiple top prospects, plus a couple of lower minors players. Certainly the Reds and Orioles have deep enough organizations to pull the trigger if they decide Cease is the best option, but both teams have protected their top prospects and may not be willing to part with more than one.

Again, it goes back to that $8 million. That is a flat-out bargain for a starting pitcher who has been worth 12.6 Wins Above Replacement over the last three seasons. Four wins could be huge for the right team when it comes to winning the division, or grabbing a wild card spot. Someone of Cease's talent could be invaluable in a short postseason series.

The Hot Stove season hasn't cooled much yet, and Cease is an attractive target for most teams who think they are just a starting pitcher away. It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, is willing to pay the price the White Sox are asking.

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