There is no denying that the Boston Red Sox desperately need to get their starting rotation in order going into the 2024 season. Not only were Boston's starters in the bottom third in the league in ERA in 2023, but they also had the fourth fewest innings pitched in all of baseball which put a lot of strain on their bullpen and proved costly in the second half. It also doesn't help that one of their best pitchers in 2023, James Paxton, just hit the free agent market.
There are certainly some free agent starters that Boston should check in on. From the top flight guys like Shohei Ohtani (who will have a one year delay) and Blake Snell to more budget friendly options, Boston has plenty of options to choose from in free agency. However, the Red Sox should seriously consider turning to the trade market for at least one starter and that is the White Sox's Dylan Cease.
The Red Sox need starting pitching and Dylan Cease could be the answer
Cease was a popular name to throw around at the trade deadline this year, but the White Sox ultimately decided to hang on to him despite trading away a ton of the rest of their pitching staff. The theory there was that Chicago thought that they could bounce back into contention reasonably quickly which would also fall within the two years of team control they had left with Cease.
However, the White Sox ended up firing their vice president Ken Williams as well as general manager Rick Hahn just a few weeks after the trade deadline and the decision calculus has changed since then. There is more than a little smoke around the idea that Chicago could indeed trade Cease this offseason given where they are going into 2024.
To get Cease, though, is going to require a pretty hefty prospect package. Cease finished second in the AL Cy Young voting in 2022 and has the type of swing and miss stuff that teams drool over this time of year. Combine that with multiple years of team control and it is clear why the White Sox should be asking for a big return for him.
Boston is one of the few teams that could actually approach said asking price without, in theory, completely mortgaging their future. Alex Verdugo could be the starting point of a trade as it does feel like his time is running out with the Red Sox and Boston has a ton of position player prospect depth with Marcelo Mayer, Roman Anthony, Kyle Teel, Nick Yorke, Mikey Romero, Blaze Jordan, and Miguel Bleis among others. There are not enough big league roster spots for ALL of these guys anyways, so flipping some of them into a guy that could be a frontline starter who also won't eat up a huge chunk of their payroll should be strongly considered.
If Chicago is truly serious about moving Cease, there is going to be a lot of competition for his services across the league and unfortunately, Boston's new front office is going to need a little bit of time to get their feet under them before they start swinging for the fences. However, the Red Sox could have a gold opportunity here and assuming a deal isn't struck with another team early in the offseason, Boston needs to be players for Cease.