Outside of Shohei Ohtani, starting pitching is the talk of the town this MLB offseason. There are several impact starters on the open market and others available via trade that are likely to be dealt before spring training, including Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease.
Naturally, the Los Angeles Dodgers are seen as viable suitors for the flame-throwing righty. The Atlanta Braves should not be counted out of the race though and are engaged in trade talks with the White Sox for Cease, along with the Dodgers and others, according to Bob Nightengale.
It's no secret that the Braves are in the market to add top-end starting pitching. They reportedly made a significant effort to sign Aaron Nola and were in play for Sonny Gray, who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. There are still options in free agency, including signing Japanese phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
The Braves might be better suited to make a trade though and have already moved around some pieces, including multiple pitchers in some recent trades. They wouldn’t be afraid to pull a deal for an ace starter to solidify their rotation.
Dylan Cease's trade market
Cease is hardly the only top-of-the-line starting pitcher that could be traded this offseason but he might be the most probable to get moved. The other potential names that could be throwing for new teams include Shane Bieber and Corbin Burnes.
Cease is right there with Bieber and Burnes and has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball over the last three seasons. In that span, only three pitchers had more strikeouts than Cease and none started more games than him. He finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting in 2022.
Although Cease had a down season statistically in 2023, he stayed healthy once again and started the most games in the MLB. With two years of control left before he hits free agency, the White Sox can ask for an abundant haul and would likely get it given what some teams are willing to trade for stars nowadays.
The White Sox are also not in a position to compete for the next several seasons and would be doing Cease and themselves a service by trading him this offseason. Bieber and Burnes will be free agents after the 2024 season and will probably get traded before then, but they both play for teams that may opt to go for it next season and keep their aces for one last potential playoff run.
With that in mind, teams are focusing on Cease and plenty of them are putting in the effort to land the 27-year-old. Multiple teams have given the White Sox a call to discuss a Cease trade and with the MLB winter meetings looming a deal could be imminent.
The Braves make sense for Dylan Cease and they recently made a trade with the White Sox, acquiring reliever Aaron Bummer. Atlanta is obviously narrowing in on pitching this offseason after a historic year at the plate in 2023. Adding Dylan Cease would make the Braves the favorite for the World Series. It's a move that would shake up the MLB offseason.