As the Boston Red Sox seek several additions to their rotation, one MLB insider delivered a promising report surrounding a potential trade target.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post wrote that the Chicago White Sox are willing to trade anyone on their roster. That includes starting pitcher Dylan Cease, who has already been the centerpiece of serious trade conversations.
"The White Sox are telling teams everyone is available, and they’ve talked seriously on Cease, who has enormous value. He’s very dependable (no missed starts three straight years), has ace talent (a 2.20 ERA in 2022) and is two years from free agency. The White Sox lost 101 games, and while the Orioles and Diamondbacks showed us how to transform into a playoff team two years after losing 100 games, it’s still unlikely. Odds to be traded: 60 percent."- Jon Heyman, New York Post
Boston’s interest in Cease has been well-documented, and Heyman giving the White Sox a 60 percent chance to trade him should encourage Red Sox fans.
Ignoring any other additions the Red Sox make this offseason, Cease could give Boston’s rotation the true ace that it has lacked in previous seasons. The 27-year-old started 33 games last year, amassing a 3.72 FIP, 10.88 percent walk rate, 4.02 percent strikeout rate, and 3.7 fWAR. He struggled with walks and ground balls (36 percent ground ball rate) but remained dominant by posting a double-digit strikeout rate for the third consecutive season.
Cease’s best pitch in 2023 was his slider, which he used to induce a .216 xBA and 43.3 percent whiff rate despite relying on it a whopping 38.6 percent of the time.
If this Cease-to-Boston narrative is starting to remind you of a different Red Sox pitcher, that’s because it should. The last time the Red Sox received a big-league starter from Chicago was Dec. 6, 2016, when they struck a deal to acquire Chris Sale in exchange for prospects Michael Kopech, Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz. Sale, too, was best known for his slider dominance and was supposed to fill a major void atop the rotation.
Red Sox fans still have mixed feelings seven years removed from the trade, but it’s important to remember that Cease isn’t Sale. This isn’t a cautionary tale about trading with the White Sox, but rather a reminder that Boston is still searching for an elite ace nearly one decade later.
Perhaps Cease could be the addition this Red Sox team desperately needs.