The rumors of a Dylan Cease trade have been swirling since the trade deadline. As the offseason ramps up and with the Chicago White Sox in a seemingly constant rebuilding mode, the former Cy Young finalist's name has been continually bandied about as a big trade chip for weeks now.
It sounds like things may be coming to a head. According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, Cease could be on the move before the Winter Meetings convene in Nashville next week. Morosi posted on Wednesday afternoon that talks had "... intensified in the last 48 hours ..." and that a trade before the Winter Meetings is "... increasingly possible."
The most disturbing part of Morosi's post, at least for Philadelphia Phillies fans, is that he also mentions that the Atlanta Braves are among the finalists for the 27-year-old starting pitcher. It's no secret that the Braves are in the market for a top-end starter after they offered Aaron Nola $27 million a year in an effort to pry him away from the Phillies.
Currently, Roster Resource on FanGraphs projects the Braves' 2024 starting rotation to consist of Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Bryce Elder, and Huascar Ynoa. However, the team is reportedly planning to stretch out their most recent acquisition, Reynaldo López, to see if he can help the rotation.
Adding Cease to that mix would drastically change the complexion of the Phillies' NL East rivals. They could potentially face the Milton, Georgia native three, maybe four times in 2024 if he winds up in Atlanta. Paired with Strider, that's a lot of strikeout power the Phillies will have to contend with in the coming years.
Cease, who finished second in AL Cy Young voting in 2022, had a rough 2023 campaign. He went 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP but still logged 214 strikeouts in 177 innings over 33 starts. In his five Major League seasons, all with the White Sox, the righty has a 43-35 record with a 3.83 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP, and a 10.8 K/9.
Keep your eyes peeled, as the trade could go down in the next few days. Hopefully, for the Phillies' sake, Cease ends up somewhere else besides the NL East.