White Sox trade rumors: Dylan Cease is more than a rental

White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease
(Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)

The text in my Tuesday post about recent rental pitcher trades covered what the White Sox might be able to net in return for Lucas Giolito and/or Lance Lynn.

The subtext of that post suggested that Dylan Cease was a far more compelling trade possibility, because just about all the front-line starters over previous deadline periods were dealt with at least another full season of team control remaining. Cease has two more arbitration-eligible seasons remaining after 2023 comes to a merciful end, so this is typically the time somebody like him would start to enter the chat.

Jon Heyman underscored the point during his Tuesday appearance on MLB Network’s MLB Central when talking about the Houston Astros’ potential deadline plans.

“They would love to get Dylan Cease from the White Sox,” Heyman said. “Now a lot of teams would love to get Dylan Cease. He’s one of the four guys they’ve really — I wouldn’t say untouchable, but close to untouchable. So they’d have to pay a big price to add Dylan Cease.”

The context makes it seem like it could be more than idle speculation. The previous segment dealt with Marcus Stroman, and Heyman circled back to Stroman and other rentals (including Giolito) at the end, so he went out of his way to mention Cease.

It doesn’t seem like the Astros are a natural fit for Cease because Drew Gilbert is about the only prospect/young player who isn’t already providing necessary contributions to the MLB team. As much as I would like to make the headline “Dylan Cease heading to Houston???”, it’s hard to get there from here.

Still, Heyman’s rumor is handy for illustrating the potential conversations the White Sox will have this month and the winter to come. Thanks to Michael Kopech’s recent stumbles, Cease is the only incumbent starter who can penciled into the 2024 White Sox rotation with any confidence, which either makes it the worst time to consider trading him, or the easiest time to throw all remaining caution to the wind.

As for Giolito, I liked what Cease said about his situation:

‘‘You just know it’s part of the game and part of the business,’’ right-hander Dylan Cease said. ‘‘It’s what happens. You just treat it like everything’s normal, but it’s obviously a potential reality.

‘‘It’s definitely sad. It’s not like he’s dying; he’s just going to a different team if that were to happen. But it’s unfortunate, though.’’

This is true, although 1) the Sox sometimes treat routine absences as funerals, and 2) the euphemism “he’s going to a better place” would be just as appropriate.

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Alfornia Jones

2024 is toast, but they can win this division is 2025. If they turned the keys over to James Click or the like, I could see them unloading what they have and make a 3-5 yr plan. But they aren’t doing that, and the White Sox way is going year to year buying and trading their way to dumb luck. Tank in 2024, spend like crazy in 2025 to fill the blanks. Leave the re-builds to the professionals.


James Fox (and Jim Callis) each remark on the tanking thoughts. If this team finishes in the lottery this year, they may need to go for some wins next year, as you can’t go back-to-back in the top 6 or 10 or something in the draft under the new CBA.


It feels like you have to rely on the rest of the division remaining bad, and it seems pretty likely Detroit will figure it out before the White Sox do.

As Cirensica

I’ll be shocked if Hahn trades Cease. Hahn is a terrible talent evaluator, and there is no way he will risk trading a proven pitcher with 2 years of control left. Hahn knows he needs to add pitching staff next year. Opening another pitching roster hole means another hiring he will have to do, and more exposure of his horrendous talent acquisition. Trading Cease will shock me more than extending Giolito.


The Astros can go kick rocks. They don’t have the prospects to trade for Cease.

Now, if Baltimore or Cincy were interested…

Augusto Barojas

Exactly. No reason to trade with any team with a worse farm system than the Sox. O’s would make perfect sense for both teams.

Augusto Barojas

Gunnar Henderson looks like a stud for the O’s at SS, and their top prospect is a SS (Jackson Holliday, top prospect overall). Wonder if he could be had for Cease, since he’s blocked by Gunnar? Wow are the O’s loaded. I had no idea how much until checking them out today.

As Cirensica

We just drafted Jacob Gonzalez and our top prospect is Colson Montgomery. Both SS. Why would we have interest in Gunnar?


I think he meant trading for Holliday, and given where the Sox are at, don’t you just have to amass more premium talent? Having multiple options at a position is something the White Sox have avoided like the plague but is not inherently a bad thing, contrary to what Rick Hahn would have you believe. Given the doubts regarding both Montgomery and Gonzalez being able to stick at SS and the fact that shortstops can generally move to other infield positions successfully, I wouldn’t say no to a premium talent because we *might* have another guy who can play his spot.


“Too many stud lefty hitting SS” is not exactly a bad problem to have lol. Besides, Monty is likely to fill out and move to 3B but add a buncha raw pop.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Where will he play?


Who the hell cares? If he has the physical tools to be a definite SS, he can play basically anywhere at an average, likely plus level, except maybe C and CF. He’s gonna be a stud with the bat; so what if he forces, say, Popeye into an overqualified utility role? That’s depth… foreign concept to us, I know.

Right Size Wrong Shape

It was a joke.


Older reference lost on uninitiated


This was clearly meant as a joke. I hope…

As Cirensica

not really, but I guess moving from having a bunch of 1B/DH to a bunch of SS is an leap forward


What Gunnar Henderson is right now as a rookie is like a 80th percentile outcome for Montgomery and a 90th percentile outcome for Gonzalez. He’d be easily be the 2nd best position player on the team right now, if not better than Robert 3 years from now. If the Sox could somehow get Gunnar (they won’t) it’s up to the other guys to prove they can be big leaguers and learn how to play other positions.


No chance Baltimore includes Holliday in a package for Cease.

Augusto Barojas

Houston has an awful farm system, their top prospect is a 70th ranked OF with a .650 OPS at AA this year and 12 career minor league homers. That’s not a headline prospect for Cease, not even close. No reason for Hahn to look anywhere other than teams with multiple top 100 prospects with much better projections than the Astros best.


right houston would struggle to come up with a compelling offer for giolito let alone cease

Chip Ramsey

The sad thing here is all of the magic beans the Sox traded to rebuild with (Cease, Gio, Moncada, Eloy) are on the trading block. SO this one is a big fail.

How successful will one be if they reload with magic beans? How long will it take for this team to compete again? The only is answer is if Jerry gets off his dead ass and does something about Hahn, Williams and Getz or drops dead and his family sells the team. Not a rosy future for Sox fans.


I’d dangle Cease in front of Baltimore and Cincy and see if they bite, but that’s about it.


If Houston offered Hunter Brown, Drew Gilbert, and Korey Lee for Cease I’d be interested.

Augusto Barojas

A single top 70 prospect as the centerpiece doesn’t seem anywhere near enough for Cease. I don’t see the appeal, unless you know something about the Astros other two lesser prospects that the prospect rankers don’t.

The O’s would seem the perfect team to trade with. In addition to their success this season they have an absolutely loaded minor league system with the top overall prospect. 4 in the top 30, 8 in top 100. All of them are position players, no pitchers, interestingly. That seems like a pretty good match to me, Cease being a pitcher, which is certainly what they need most.

Yikes, the O’s are gonna be really, really solid for a while it seems. Good for them, it’s certainly been a minute. I wonder what they could get from them for both Cease and Giolito. That might win the O’s the division, and put them on the map for being AL favorites. I can’t see dealing Cease for less than two top 50 prospects. He’s pretty valuable.

Last edited 2 months ago by Augusto Barojas

Hunter Brown started the season as 33rd overall according to FG. He’s graduated from the prospect list, but he’s a 55 FV, 24-year-old pitcher with Big League success. All three are legit prospects.

Certainly, I’d want to hear what the O’s and Reds offered, too. My point is the Astros could put together a package that would interest me.

Augusto Barojas

Brown looks pretty good, I’ve lost sight of other players around the league a bit, paying too much attention to this shitshow. Just seems funny to talk about trading with one of the only teams with less prospect capital than the Sox!

I’m suddenly jealous of the O’s, they may have the best future of any team in the AL the next few years. Really nice job with the farm system over there, geez.

Last edited 2 months ago by Augusto Barojas

Not totally sure Cease would be an upgrade from Brown.


I don’t mind trading Cease in theory, but I don’t like the idea of this front office trading Cease. I’m not thrilled with the idea of this front office trading Giolito or anyone else for that matter either.


Okay but how do you feel about the alternative: this front office building a winner around Cease in the next two seasons?


Is that even possible with this front office?

As Cirensica

Is this a rhetorical question?


I have more faith in them trading Cease than just about anyone else. It is easier to pull off trades that get premium returns than trades for middling to low returns. Premium returns you just go “give me your consensus best prospects”. Middling and worse trades require he skill to spot a diamond in the rough.


I cannot imagine this is true but…but I could believe that this front office would start rebuild trading their two top assets to team with only one top 100 prospect. That can’t be dismissed.

The Astros have discussed the possibility of trading for Dylan Cease AND Luis Robert Jr, per people familiar with the process.

It’d require several big league and fringe talent, but there is momentum.

Have fun with that info.

Last edited 2 months ago by hitlesswonder
Augusto Barojas

This sounds like total lunatic stuff written by an Astros fan while stoned. Hahn could get more for even Gio alone than a top 70 outfield prospect with a .650 OPS at AA. The Astros don’t have anything to trade for Cease or Robert. They’re like one of only a couple teams with a clearly worse farm system than the Sox, LOL!

The O’s on the other hand, many possibilities. For Gio, Cease, or both.


It is insane, but the comments have entertainment value..can read some stuff about how getting those two would be ok but not worth trading their top prospect for…maybe the trade deadline will be an amusing time after all.

Augusto Barojas

Yeah the first tweet in response to that about someone discussing the possibility of dating Sydney Sweeney per people familiar with the process… I got a laugh out of that one.


If downgrading from Cease and Robert to Javier and McCormick, respectively, gets you Jeremy Pena to be 2B/SS and Korey Lee to be next year’s catcher, sheds Moncada’s contract, and gets you a couple 40-45 FV prospects to boot… Hahn has to consider pulling the trigger.

There aren’t going to be many opportunities to shed payroll while fielding a competitive team for next year. This might be one of them.


That would mean a dramatic reshaping of the roster rather that simply piecemeal moves, something this FO has been criticized for not doing. Not a lot of confidence they could pull something like that off to be competitive, unless the goal is more to simply dump contracts.


I’ll give the FO their dramatic reshaping if they promise me that Seby and Romy won’t have to play >100 games each next season.

Augusto Barojas

I doubt that Hahn’s trading ideas will be about fielding a more competitive team next year. At least I hope not. I just can’t see it after this year and losing 3/5 of their rotation, plus Grandal, plus relievers, plus Yoan, Tim, and Liam after next year. I think he will try and get the best prospects he can, looking to 2025/6 at the earliest, assuming that he cares at all.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Carlos Perez finally gets a start behind the plate today, and it’s against a team with over a 90% success rate on steals.


Let’s say the Angels lose 8 of the next 10. I wonder how Ohtani might gum up the market. Teams that would want to make a play for him would probably hoard their prospect capital until they know if they have a shot at him or not. If Ohtani could legitimately be on the market, it might be slow until a furious last day or two.

Joe Sheehan doubts Ohtani will be traded.


JR won’t allow another full rebuild. They have zero shot in ’24. Could potentially retool for ’25, ergo trade Cease NOW.


Are we sure Jerry even cares? How do we know he won’t allow another rebuild?


Nightengale on the July 6th Sox Talk Podcast.


Gotcha. I missed or forgot that.

As Cirensica

He cares as much as he cares about having a competent GM.


“He’s going to a better place.”

hahahahaha. Pure gold, Jim!


No way I trade Cease, especially to a team like Houston with a shallow farm system.

Armchair GM me, I trade Gio and TA to the Dodgers for River Ryan, Nick Nastrini, and Ryan Pepiot. Might be steep for Pepiot but that would be nice if it worked.

Then I offer up Lynn, Bummer, and Middleton to Texas for Luisangel Acuna and Brock Porter.

Then I trade Graveman, Sheets, and Lopez to Baltimore for Kjerstad and an older prospect like Ryan Watson (If not Kjerstad, another one of their OF prospects would work too, they have a prospect logjam there).

Those are huge building blocks for the future and next year and I could see a rotation of Cease, Kopech, Ryan, Nastrini, and Porter/Mena/Cannon in 2024, an OF of Kjerstad, Robert, and Benny, an IF of Moncada/Burger, Montgomery, Acuna/Sosa, Vaughn, and who knows at catcher (and in the bp).

Last edited 2 months ago by chisoxfanboy

How about a trade with Detroit? Cease, Moncada, and $9 mil for Max Clark, Troy Melton, and something else like a Dillon Dingler or a Joey Wentz. We get who was undoubtedly at the top of the Sox draft board, a promising P, and get rid of a troublesome contract. While I understand his value, I’m not sold on Cease enough to get value for him. As to why Detroit would want Moncada. He’s much better than any option they have now or internally for 2024 and they wouldn’t be committed to him in 2025 when they do have a possible internal option.