The 2023 Major League Baseball season brought a stark contrast for Chicago White Sox's pitcher Dylan Cease. Following a 2022 season that culminated in a runner-up finish in the American League (AL) Cy Young Award voting, Cease's performance this year was less stellar.
However, despite a challenging season, he remains a sought-after player, drawing significant interest from top-tier teams like the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cease, 27, exhibited exceptional prowess on the mound in 2022, boasting a 14-8 record and an impressive 2.20 ERA over 32 starts.
This performance solidified his reputation as a formidable starter, earning him a coveted spot in the Cy Young Award race. The 2023 season, however, saw a notable shift. Cease's ERA escalated to 4.58, a career high, accompanied by an increased number of walks and leading the league in hit batters with 14.
Cease Trade Looms: Sox Struggle
Despite the downturn, Cease's potential remains undeniable. Renowned MLB analyst Bob Nightengale suggests that a trade involving the Georgia native could be imminent. The White Sox's pitching struggles were evident as they finished the season with a mere 61 wins, attributing in part to a starting rotation ERA of 4.88 — the seventh-worst in the league.
General Manager Chris Getz of the White Sox has indicated a willingness to consider trade offers for any player, setting the stage for potential negotiations. The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, both achieving over 100 wins this season, have emerged as the primary suitors.
The Dodgers, potentially bracing for Clayton Kershaw's retirement, and the Braves, aiming to bolster their already dominant pitching lineup, see Cease as a valuable addition. Cease's contract situation adds another layer of intrigue.
After signing a one-year deal in 2023 to avoid arbitration and earning $5.7 million, he is eligible for arbitration in 2024 and 2025, before hitting free agency in 2026. This control period makes him an attractive asset for the White Sox in trade talks.
For the White Sox, ensuring a fair trade for Cease is crucial. While his 2023 performance may not have mirrored his peak, he remains a key component of their rotation. As the team contemplates a trade with powerhouses like the Braves, securing adequate compensation is vital.
The outcome of these negotiations could significantly impact the White Sox's prospects of revitalizing their pitching strength in the coming seasons.