Dylan Cease has been at the center of trade rumors since the start of the offseason.
Many believed that Cease would be dealt during the Winter Meetings with MLB Network’s Jon Morosi even saying that he believed the White Sox ace would be traded before the Winter Meetings began. Teams rumored to be engaged in trade talks with Cease include the Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals, Orioles, Mets, and Reds. On Wednesday 670 the Scores’s Bruce Levine revealed the reported asking price for Cease.
According to Levine the White Sox asking price for Cease is high and the Reds were asked for four top prospects including the Reds’ No. 2 prospect Rhett Lowder, No. 6 prospect Chase Petty, No. 9 prospect Carlos Jorge and No. 11 prospect Sammy Stafura.
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This would be a massive haul for the White Sox. Lowder is a right-handed pitcher and former seventh-overall pick out of Wake Forest. Petty is a 20-year-old who touched triple digits in high school. Jorge is a second baseman who posted a .838 OPS last season. Stafura is just 19 years old but projects to be a shortstop long-term.
The White Sox feel that they have plenty of leverage in negotiations since Cease still has two years of control and is one year removed from posting a 2.20 ERA and finishing runner-up in the AL Cy Young voting.
“We’re in a position of leverage because we don’t think we have to trade Cease,” assistant general manager Josh Barfield told reporters at the Winter Meetings.” “It’s nice you know. We have two years of control and he’s a really really good pitcher who definitely helps us next year. At the same time, we’ve got to be smart and listen to everything.”
Barfield brings up an excellent point. The White Sox don’t need to trade Cease. However, his two years of control are what makes him so attractive to opposing teams. His affordable contract also helps.
Cease earned $5.7 million in arbitration last season and is expected to make $7-$8 million this upcoming season. It is hard to find a pitcher of Cease’s caliber available for that price. Cease has spent his entire five-year career on the South Side and has struck out over 200 batters in each of the last three seasons.
Teams like the Orioles and Reds who are in desperate need of starting pitching but don’t want to spend big in free agency are perfect trade partners for the White Sox, considering their deep farm systems.
The White Sox could also hold out until after some of the top free agent’s arms are off the board to increase the urgency for potential suitors. All signs point to a promising return if and when the White Sox do part ways with Cease.