While Dylan Cease signed to a rather reasonable $8 million contract this season, avoiding arbitration, the price for his services in the trade market is rather high.
And general manager Chris Getz didn't shy away from conceding to that notion, too, earlier this offseason.
"We've had conversations about Dylan Cease, but I also know that we're not going to move a player like Dylan or anyone else unless we feel like we're going to benefit," Getz said on a Zoom call with reporters earlier this offseason. "It's got to be a right fit for certainly all parties."
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Now, we have confirmation from opposing general managers.
Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently interviewed with 680 The Fan radio station in Atlanta. During his interview, a fan outside of the room flashed a "Trade for Cease" sign on his phone at him. Anthopoulos reacted hilariously to the wishful sign.
"We already tried! We already tried! Too expensive, too expensive," Anthopoulos said through the window, using the universal money sign with his fingers to communicate.
White Sox News
Elite starting pitching is no easy commodity to come across. And they aren't cheap, either. Remember, a few of Scott Boras' clients are still available on the free agency market, including Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery.
It makes sense the White Sox are holding a high price for Cease, seeing as the demand for elite starting pitchers outweighs the current supply. After the Shohei Ohtani domino dropped with the Dodgers, free-agent pitchers were supposed to start dropping like flies. That hasn't been the case during this molasses-paced free agency period.
Earlier this offseason, Cease and the White Sox shook hands to avoid arbitration on a one-year deal worth $8 million. Including the 2024 season, Cease has two years of club control, adding to the appeal of the right-handed starter.
Recent reports suggest Cease will remain on the South Side at least until the trade deadline when Getz and the front office will likely wheel out his services once more to extract more value. But that's quite a risky play, seeing as Cease's performance took a dive in 2023.
Cease pitched to the beautiful tune of a 2.20 ERA in 2022, striking out a blistering 227 batters and allowing just 45 earned runs all season from his 32 starts and 184 innings. Last season, his ERA dipped to 4.58 from the same number of starts and nearly the same number of innings. He struck out fewer batters and walked a heckuva lot more (79).
If Cease doesn't perform aptly during the first half of the 2024 season, it'll be difficult to convince opposing teams of his value. But that doesn't faze Getz, who's open about his rather rigid asking price for Cease.
"For sustainability, it's important, if you're able to find a trade, that you want it to help you both in the short-term and long-term," he said. "So potentially, there could be players that go to our Minor League system, [and players who] certainly could help our major league club. You certainly want this to be a balancing attack. You hope that you're able to benefit immediately. Sometimes that's not the case. We're looking for ways to get better, both short-term and long-term."