3 Phillies starting pitcher trade options if Aaron Nola leaves, and 1 starter to avoid

How would the potentially available starters on the market fit in Philadelphia? Who should the Phillies stay away from?

Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers could be a trade target for the Philadelphia Phillies
Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers could be a trade target for the Philadelphia Phillies / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
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Dylan Cease, CHW

Dylan Cease is an interesting case. He was a Cy Young finalist in 2022, finishing second in voting. In 2023, the Chicago White Sox had no idea what would happen from start to start in 2023 when Cease took the mound.

His 2.20 ERA in 2022 ballooned to 4.58 this past season. The 27-year-old still got his strikeouts, with 214 in 177 innings, and only surrendered one more walk (79) than in 2022 (78), but he gave up 90 earned runs. He gave up 45 in 2022.

Cease was a lot like Aaron Nola this season. While there were some phenomenal outings, there were also some absolutely horrific starts in which it looked like he was throwing batting practice to the opposing team.

There's always the possibility that Cease threw in the towel in 2023, based on the rumblings about the toxic culture and dysfunction within the White Sox organization. For a club that can't seem to get out of its own way, things went from bad to worse this year.

Cease has two more years of arbitration-eligible team control left before he becomes a free agent after the 2025 season. If the Phillies were to make this trade, it would cost them more in assets for the extra year of service and two potential playoff runs, but the right-hander would be an affordable rotation piece. MLB Trade Rumors projects Cease to earn $8.8 million in 2024.

With the uncertainty around what his 2024 performance will look like, Dombrowski, Fuld, and company should stay away from Cease. This Phillies team is in a win-now mode and needs a top-of-the-rotation starter they can depend on.

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