White Sox seeking 'right fit for all parties' in Cease talks

January 10th, 2024

While winter sets around Chicago, the Hot Stove season continues to be warmed by the potential trade market for White Sox ace . The club has continued to listen on interest, but nothing appears imminent, and it won’t be unless the right offer comes along.

“We've had conversations about Dylan Cease,” general manager Chris Getz said on a Tuesday call with reporters. “But I also know that we're not going to move a player like Dylan -- or anyone else -- unless we feel like we're going to benefit. So it's got to be a right fit for all parties.

“A lot of these conversations are ongoing. There's a lot that goes into any sort of trade transaction. There's a lot of conversations, build-up, research and obviously getting it to the finish line. And as part of the offseason, we'll continue to do that, to find ways to get our club better.”

What does a beneficial trade look like -- with Cease or anyone? Does it center around lower-level prospects with upside to reshape the club in time? Does it include Major League-ready players who can help the club immediately?

“Quite honestly, all of the above,” Getz said. “For sustainability, it's important, if you're able to find a trade, that you want it to help you both in the short term and long term. So potentially, there could be players that go to our Minor League system, certainly [players who] could help our Major League club. You certainly want this to be a balancing attack. You hope that you're able to benefit immediately; sometimes that's not the case. We're looking for ways to get better, both short term and long term.”

There’s a good reason to be selective -- that’s how Cease ended up with the White Sox in the first place. He was a high-strikeout Cubs prospect in Single-A in 2017 before joining Eloy Jiménez as part of the four-player trade package that sent José Quintana from the White Sox across town. That was a mid-July swap, a couple of weeks ahead of the Trade Deadline.

One potential factor regarding Cease is that the free-agent pitching market continues to unfold slowly, despite the Dodgers’ signing of Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Japanese lefty Shōta Imanaga reportedly agreed to a deal with the Cubs on Thursday, which could start moving things along, but National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery remain available in free agency.

The Yankees, for example, have been linked to interest in Cease -- per Ken Rosenthal -- but also to Snell and Montgomery -- per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

“Whether it’s a Cease market or any other player’s market, we’re certainly not operating in a vacuum,” Getz said. “Some teams have a little bit more financial flexibility than others. All it takes is one team to want to jump out, perhaps, and get a deal done.

“In the case of Dylan, I don’t think that there’s a club out there that hasn’t expressed some level of interest in him, and all of their situations are different. So when you bring up some of these higher-profile players and the impact it may have on Dylan and others, I think that applies to some, but not all. Every organization has different types of players. Those players, how do they apply to your club? Those are all different factors that go into making a decision. If we feel like there’s a fit that improves our club, we’ll strongly consider it.”

For now, Cease has continued to prepare for Spring Training with the White Sox.

“We’ve continually spoken to Dylan,” Getz said. “He’s got a very strong relationship with [pitching coach] Ethan Katz, [manager] Pedro [Grifol], and is building a relationship with [senior pitching advisor] Brian Bannister -- one of our new hires. And that’s always been very consistent with Dylan: he’s always preparing for what’s in front of him.

“He’s fairly unique in how he does not get distracted. And that’s what makes him a special pitcher, and a pitcher that could pitch for any club in any city. That’s why his value is so high.”