Dylan Cease

Here's why the White Sox are ‘pulling back' on dealing Dylan Cease: reports

Chris Getz and the front office are waiting for Yoshinobu Yamamoto to sign before dealing Cease

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If nothing else, the White Sox have made one thing abundantly clear regarding Dylan Cease.

They're open ears and willing to deal the right-hander, but they're not hard-pressed to move him immediately.

"We're in a position of leverage, because I don't think we have to trade Cease," White Sox assistant general manager Josh Barfield said 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 we've got to listen to everything.

"If we make a move, if we don't, we're just going to be patient and wait for the right one."

That's why, according to Jon Heyman, the White Sox are "pulling back" on trading Cease. They're waiting for coveted, Japanese star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto and other blue chip free agents to sign first before dealing Cease. That way, they can maximize his value in a scarcer pitching market.

From a broader perspective, Shohei Ohtani's decision will likely ease the log jam in MLB free agency, too. The MLB Winter Meetings, which finished on Wednesday, were uncharacteristically quiet. That's part of the reason the White Sox don't feel pressured to move Cease.

That doesn't mean, however, that they didn't have conversations about Cease's availability during the meetings. WSCR's Bruce Levine reported a deal the White Sox asked from the Reds for Cease.

This hypothetical deal would yield the White Sox the No. 2, 6, 9 and 11 prospects in the Reds' robust farm system; their farm system ranked fifth in the league from MLB.com's standings.

Rhett Lowder and Chase Petty are both considered future starters in the big leagues. Carlos Jorge (No. 9) is expected to take his time in the minor league systems, but become a four-tool second baseman. Sammy Stafura (No. 11) is supposed to make a smooth transition into a major league shortstop, too.

That's a healthy command for Cease, who seemingly doesn't fit the team's competitive window if they continue to dismantle the roster and bolster their farm system. And if it's not the Reds, surely, there will be other interested suitors with plenty to offer.

The White Sox are handling Cease's situation intelligently. Without Yamamoto, Ohtani, or the other blue chip starters in the free agent market, the White Sox are dangling their ace in front of starter-hungry teams for a healthy price. You can never have too much pitching and there's a chance contenders start to get desperate without a blue chip piece.

The question is --- can Chris Getz and the White Sox execute and maximize Cease's value? Remember, he came back down to Earth in 2023 after a stellar 2022. Last season, he finished with a suboptimal 4.58 ERA. Stay tuned.

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