Survey Says White Sox’s Dylan Cease Most Likely MLB Player to Be Traded This Spring

Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease.

Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease.

A Hall of Fame writer’s survey has determined which Major League Baseball player is most likely to be traded during spring training. The answer is not a big surprise.

Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease is at the top of the list as part of a survey conducted by The Athletic’s Jayson Stark. Of the 31 MLB executives, former executives, coaches and scouts queried by Stark, 14 chose Cease as most likely to be in a different uniform by the time the regular season begins.

Cease has long been rumored to be on the trading block. The White Sox are in rebuilding mode after a disastrous 61-101 season in 2023 that saw executive vice president Kenny Williams and general manager Rick Hahn get fired in August.

General manager Chris Getz, who was promoted from farm director to oversee the White Sox’s baseball operations, has been transparent that he is listening to offers for Cease. The 28-year-old Cease is Chicago’s best trade chip as it tries to restock its major-league roster and minor-league system with young talent following nine losing seasons in the last 10 years.

Why Would White Sox Trade Ace?

Cease is considered the ace of the White Sox’s pitching staff and is still relatively young. So why would the White Sox trade him?

Mainly because the White Sox don’t believe they can contend, even in the weak American League Central, for a few years. Cease can become a free agent following the 2025 season, so he might not be around by the time the White Sox’s rebuilding potentially begins to pay off at the major-league level.

Any team trading for Cease now would have him under contractual control for at least two full seasons. Theoretically, that gives Cease more trade value than if the White Sox waited until this season’s trade deadline or the offseason to deal him.

Cease is coming off a subpar season in 2023 in which he had a 7-9 record and a 4.58 ERA in 33 starts. However, he is a year removed from finishing as the runner-up in the American League Cy Young voting when he went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA in 32 starts.

Another of Cease’s attractive traits is his durability. His 97 starts over the past three seasons are the most in the major leagues during that span.

What Teams Could Trade for Cease?

Various teams were linked to Cease in trade rumors throughout the offseason. Among them are the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

Cease’s $8 million salary this year would seemingly fit into most teams’ budgets.

However, it doesn’t help the White Sox that many potential suitors for Cease acquired other starting pitchers during the offseason. The Orioles traded for Corbin Burnes, the Dodgers signed Yoshinobu Yamamoto in free agency and acquired Tyler Glasnow in a trade and the Yankees signed Frankie Montas the Marcus Stroman as free agents.

What also could be holding up a Cease trade is a slow free agent market. Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery remain unsigned and whatever teams don’t sign those left-handers could pivot to trying to acquire Cease.

Among the teams thought to be pursuing Snell and/or Montgomery are the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Yankees and San Francisco Giants.

Cease, meanwhile, can only ride out the trade rumors, telling USA Today’s Bob Nightengale: “For the most part, I try not to over-focus on it. Just prepare like normal.”

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