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.