NL Central Contender Predicted to Land $8 Million Ace in Blockbuster Trade

dylan cease

Getty Dylan Cease is still on the White Sox heading into 2024. But if he gets traded, the St. Louis Cardinals appear to be a good fit.

The Chicago White Sox have been willing to trade starting pitcher Dylan Cease all winter. A high asking price has led to him remaining with the club and being named their 2024 Opening Day starter. But could he finish the season with the St. Louis Cardinals?

That’s what Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller thinks might happen. In a February 26 article, he predicted that Cease will get dealt to the Cardinals before the trade deadline. He notes the Baltimore Orioles are frequently mentioned as a logical landing spot. However, Miller thinks St. Louis is the better fit.

“Sonny Gray was a great pickup for St. Louis, but both the Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn ‘one year plus a club option’ deals feel like band-aid solutions that might not stick,” he said. “The Cards do have two highly touted pitching prospects in the pipeline in Tink Hence and Tekoah Roby, but both of those 2020 draft picks are likely at least a year away from becoming legitimate options for the rotation.”

According to Spotrac, Cease is set to make $8 million in 2024. He’s even more attractive to interested teams because he isn’t scheduled to reach free agency until after the 2025 campaign.

Cease Will Look to Recapture His 2022 Magic

The right-handed hurler has been a popular trade target despite not putting together the best performance in 2023. In 33 starts (177 innings), he went 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 214 strikeouts. Although his ERA and WHIP were much higher than the year prior, it’s notable that he surpassed the 200-strikeout plateau for the third straight year.

Cease may have run into some bad luck based on advanced stats, as well. His Fielder Independent Pitching (FIP) for 2023 came in at 3.72, per FanGraphs. So, combine that with the strikeouts and his durability — which includes three straight years of 30-plus starts — and it’s no secret why teams want him. Plus, the entire league got a glimpse of his potential in 2022.

In a career-high 184 innings pitched, Cease twirled a 2.20 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP and 227 strikeouts. This led to him finishing second in American League Cy Young Award voting and 22nd in AL MVP Award voting.

White Sox Holding Firm on Their Asking Price in Trade Talks

Chicago general manager Chris Getz has made it clear that Cease is available on the trade market. However, the White Sox have also made it clear they won’t just give the hurler away. His current free agency timeline allows them to be patient in hopes of getting the best possible package of prospects in return.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported on January 7 what the club was looking for. “The Chicago White Sox have recently spoken to the Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers, but they are not close to trading ace Dylan Cease,” he said. “They’re still holding out for two premium prospects and two others in return. If the White Sox don’t get what they want, they’ll hold onto him until they do.”

There’s no reason to believe Chicago has backed off those demands as the calendar creeps toward March. The Orioles tried to acquire Cease with the package they eventually used for Corbin Burnes, but the White Sox didn’t bite. The Yankees are still interested, but Getz and Co. are insisting that top prospect Spencer Jones is included.

Read More