In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, the Baltimore Orioles acquired All-Star starting pitcher Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for prospects Joey Ortiz, D.L. Hall, and the 34th overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. Burnes getting traded to Baltimore isn’t entirely surprising, given that the Orioles have been scouring the market for a top-tier starting pitcher all offseason. They had been the most logical landing spot for Dylan Cease until now, but decided to pull the trigger on Burnes instead.
The Burnes Trade from the White Sox Perspective
The big question from the White Sox perspective is how Burnes going to Baltimore impacts Cease’s trade market. After all, some thought he was far more likely to be dealt than Burnes this offseason, yet it did not play out that way. The Brewers decided to cash in on Burnes now, while Cease is still on the South Side. The fact that Cease hasn’t gotten traded yet indicates that Chris Getz is holding firm in his sky-high asking price, which is both good and bad, depending on one’s perspective.
In my opinion, the Orioles acquiring Burnes does not take them out of the running for Cease entirely, but it feels less likely than before. Baltimore now has a formidable top 3 in their rotation in Burnes, Kyle Bradish, and Grayson Rodriguez, so they might be content with who they have for now. John Means and Dean Kremer are also in the mix for the Orioles but are both question marks to some extent. Means has not stayed healthy in recent years, and Kremer is a back end of the rotation starter on a good team. Baltimore could still want Cease, and they have the young talent to acquire him. After all, they acquired Burnes without giving up any of their top 5 prospects. A potential rotation with Burnes, Bradish, Cease, and Rodriguez would be disgusting and a nightmare for opposing hitters.
Subscribe to the Pinwheels and Ivy Show, a White Sox vs. Cubs podcast made for Chicago fans.
Yankees in on Cease?
The Yankees are the big wild card in the Cease sweepstakes. While they did sign Marcus Stroman earlier in the offseason, he is not a top-tier starting pitcher anymore, and the Yankees starting rotation is full of question marks behind Gerrit Cole. Carlos Rodón and Nestor Cortés Jr. both had injury-plagued and disappointing 2023 seasons, and Clarke Schmidt is a back end of the rotation starter at best. The Yankees also traded a substantial amount of starting pitching depth in the form of Michael King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vásquez, and Drew Thorpe to the Padres earlier this offseason in the Juan Soto trade. New York could use another high-upside, durable starting pitcher to slot in behind Cole in their rotation, and Cease fits that description.
The Yankees also have the farm system and motivation to complete a Cease deal. They have several top 100 prospects and a massive amount of pressure to win now, given that Juan Soto is only a one year rental. The AL East is also an extremely competitive division with little room for error. The Yankees may go the free agent route and sign Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery instead, but Cease is a logical fit for what New York is trying to do.
It’s a Waiting Game
Ultimately, nobody knows how much of an effect the Corbin Burnes trade has on the White Sox and their plans for Dylan Cease. At this point, I would bet that Cease will be on the mound for the White Sox on Opening Day. But all it takes is one desperate team to jump in and give Chris Getz what he wants. We will have to wait and see if that happens.