Dylan Cease hires Scott Boras, and now we’ll take it year to year

Toward the end of our discussion about Dylan Cease in his player review episode of the Sox Machine Podcast, I told Josh that Carlos Rodón’s offseason could have a lot to say about Dylan Cease’s earning potential absent an extension.

Most of Rodón’s track record suggests he shouldn’t be in line for a major payday, but he managed to sneak in a monster Stuff Season (peripherals plus measurables) heading into his free agency. If one plus year out of seven results in a sizable contract, then he’ll have won the bet on himself by going year to year, even if the last of those individual years resulted in a salary setback. Getting to free agency as soon as possible proved to be the correct course.

Cease isn’t close to free agency — he’s on track to reach six years of service time during the 2025 season if the current rules hold through the new CBA — but he just delivered that one Stuff Season himself. If he’s able to sustain his health while maintaining his arsenal well enough, whatever contract Rodón finds might serve as a sort of baseline for how well he could fare with even an inconsistent showing between now and then.

It’s not a perfect comparison thanks to the timelines. Rodón posted his best time in his last lap, while Cease could end up stuck in the long jump pit over the next four years. Still, with Cease literally and figuratively getting on top of his fastball issues to pair with a dynamite slider, it’s a fair-enough fit to convince me that Cease wouldn’t be a Gavin Floyd to Lucas Giolito’s John Danks. Maybe he’d sign an extension, but he wouldn’t make himself a steal.

This was all before Cease changed his representation to Scott Boras. The former client of ACES now has the same agent as Rodón, giving that idle speculation a little more substance.

Cease isn’t the highest-profile player to make the switch. Carlos Correa stole those headlines by joining Boras Corp. from William Morris Endeavor. He didn’t specify the reason, but Evan Drellich pointed out that WME’s agents are at risk of losing their certification because the company bought 10 minor league teams.

The Major League Baseball Players Association warned WME Sports player representatives that they risk losing their certification as agents unless they divest themselves from the company, multiple people with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic. The agents have a right to appeal the decision, seemingly leaving the door open for an alternate solution. Endeavor declined to comment.

The union’s regulations forbid agents from “Acquiring, holding or seeking to acquire or hold, either directly or indirectly, any ownership or financial interest in any Major League, Minor League or other professional baseball club or in any related business, firm or venture … unless previously authorized in writing by the MLBPA to do so.”

Cease’s prior agency doesn’t seem to have the same looming conflict of interest necessitating a change. Perhaps he just felt a new trajectory on his career required new representation to help make the most of it.

History says that doesn’t bode well for the Sox when trying to project the White Sox’s long-term rotation. The most recent chapter involved Boras needling the White Sox for not issuing Rodón the qualifying offer. That said, Boras represents Dallas Keuchel, so the relationship isn’t doomed. Here’s where I’ll again issue the reminder that a successful White Sox rebuild would push the team into a different spending stratum, which should be able to accommodate a seven-figure pitcher somewhere down the line.

Cease aside, the Sox already needed to prioritize developing internal solutions just out of organizational health. Any urgency to that pursuit can’t hurt, even if this particular shift’s ramifications remain too far in the future to nail down with any confidence.

(Photo by Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports)

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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To Err is Herrmann

Sometimes I find it disconcerting to realize that players are not as devoted to the White Sox as I am.

joewho112

Sometimes I find it disconcerting to realize than fans are more devoted to the White Sox than players are

As Cirensica

I find it more disconcerting the owner is neither.

jorgefabregas

They must think that owning minor league teams is very profitable, if they’re willing to lose a commission on Carlos Correa’s contract.

joewho112

4% (which I think is standard commission) of $330M is $13.2M, not to mention all their other baseball clients.

Alex Schmidt

Great article as always Jim. Butting in to its comment section with this unrelated news:

JUAN URIBE JUNIOR

joewho112

Nice. Maybe we can trade him to San Diego for Yu Darvish in a few years.

DuhSox

Or for Drake LaRoche because he would be the clubhouse leader we need.

calcetinesblancos

That’s “Big Game Yu” to you(yu?)!!!

calcetinesblancos

Definitely has a better swing than his dad. For the record though I love Juan Uribe, and the things Ozzie has said about him make me love him even more.

calcetinesblancos

My first reaction is who cares. My second reaction is that I’m thinking this means he’s really taking himself seriously, which is good for the Sox and the four years of control he has left. I also wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea of an extension. Switching to Boras pre-arb might actually be his way of making sure any extension offer he receives isn’t one of those Ozzie Albies type deals.

Trooper Galactus

Well, he didn’t grow up destitute nor does he have immediate family I’m aware of living in abject poverty, so I doubt he was ever in danger of signing anything remotely like what Albies did. As for an extension, has any Boras client ever signed one that wasn’t roughly equivalent to a free agent deal to begin with? I think it’s fair to assume that he will advise Cease to ride arbitration to free agency and land a nine figure payday.

calcetinesblancos

From what I read the Albies deal was mostly the result of a bad injury he had in the minors that that really freaked him out and made him see things differently. Obviously helping the family factors into that.

If I’m just straight up playing hardball from the Sox perspective with Cease, I don’t see the appeal of an extension right now unless it’s for peanuts. But I also wonder if the Bauer/Scherzer deals could make the Sox think that a bigger money extension would still make financial sense long term. But if you want to try to sign him, now is the time to do it. Really curious to see what the new CBA ends up looking like.

Trooper Galactus

Cease was 12th in MLB in fWAR with the 5th highest K% among qualified pitchers. He led the AL in starts and K/9. An extension makes plenty of sense because his arbitration numbers could be crazy if he takes another step forward this season (particularly with consistency and efficiency).

metasox

If Cease wanted to sit tight until free agency then he could have waited to make the switch. The fact he made this switch now makes me think he is open to some kind of negotiation.