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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)